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Full text of "The preaching for today : sermons, papers and addresses delivered at the North Carolina Baptist Pastors' Conference, Shelby, December 8,9, 1913"

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CLASS OF 1889 





'-•■■-.■'•• .-':•■■ 

The Preaching (or Today 


Q. €. DAVIS 


The Preaching for Today 




SHELBY, DECEMBER 8, 9, 1913 





Raleigh, N. C. 

Mutual Publishing Company, Printers 




Introduction 3 

By W. R. Cullom. 

The Importance to the Pastor of Spiritual 

Vision 9 

By Frank Hare. 

The Apostle Paul as a Christian Leader ... 19 
By J. B. Gambrell. 

The Point of Contact 2S 

By Edward Long. 

The Pastor and the Intermediate Boy ..... 40 
By B. W. Spilman. 

Expository Preaching 44 

By I. M. Mercer. 

Eschatology in the Pulpit: Its Use and Abuse 52 
By Q. C. Davis. 

A Voice From the Pew 63 

By T. M. Pittman. 

The Service of the Country Church 74 

By S. Z. Batten. 

Denominational Christianity 97 

By B. D. Gray. 

Fatherly Wisdom in Heavenly Affairs 101 

By Charles Anderson. 




By W. R. CULLOM, TH. D., Wake Forest College. 

At the Seventh annual meeting of the North 
Carolina Baptist Pastors' Conference in Shelby, 
December 8 and 9, 1913, a committee was ap- 
pointed to consider the advisability of publishing 
the addresses of the present Conference. This 
committee was composed of Revs. W. C. Barrett, 
J. H. Foster, M. A. Adams, and J. S. Farmer. 
After carefully considering the matter, the com- 
mittee made the following report: 

"We, your committee, recommend that the 
members of this Conference pay or subscribe such 
amounts as they are willing to pay for the pub- 
lication of the papers and addresses presented 
to this Conference; and that the total amount 
shall not be less than one hundred dollars. That 
the publication be distributed to the individuals 
and churches in proportion to amounts contribu- 
ted. That a committee of three be appointed to se- 
cure bids and look after publishing the addresses 
and papers of this Conference. That the President 
of this Conference be requested to write an intro- 
duction, giving history and programs of former 
meetings of this Conference, and that this intro- 
duction be published along with the other papers." 

It is in response to the request set forth in the 
report of this committee that the following para- 
graphs are prepared as an introduction to this 

Origin of the Conference. 

One man in the Convention had believed for 
several years that an annual meeting of the 
Baptist pastors of the State would be helpful to 
the pastors, to the Convention, to .the churches, 
and to the Cause of Christ in general. When- 
ever the matter was mentioned tentatively to 

X -J 


some of our leaders the point was made that the 
Convention was already a great burden to the 
community that entertained it, and to add one day 
more might prove to be the last straw to break 
the camel's back. At the meeting of the Conven- 
tion in Greensboro in 1906, the brother in ques- 
tion went to the host of the next Convention and 
talked the matter over with him. Growing out 
of that conversation the following minute appears 
on page 62 of the Convention Annual for that 
year: "Fred Hale, expressing the opinion that we 
ought to have a North Carolina Baptist Minis- 
ters' Conference, and inviting such a meeting in 
connection with the Convention atWilmington next 
year, it was moved by W. C. Tyree, and adopted 
by the body that the President appoint a com- 
mittee of five to arrange for such a Conference. 
The President named W. C. Tyree, Fred D. Hale, 
Livingston Johnson, W. R. Cullom and Braxton 
Craig as the committee." In accordance with 
this action the first session of the Conference was 
held in the First Baptist Church, Wilmington, be- 
ginning Tuesday evening, December 3, 1907, and 
continuing through the afternoon of the follow- 
ing day. Rev. C. A. Jenkens was elected Presi- 
dent, and Rev. J. S. Farmer, Secretary. A num- 
ber of practical subjects were discussed by several 
of our best pastors in a way that proved very 
helpful to those present. A question box was 
opened on the second day of the Conference with 
the thought that brethren might have the oppor- 
tunity of presenting any special difficulty they 
might think of in connection with their work. One 
of the first questions to be read out by the Secre- 
tary was: "Why do Missionary Baptists not Com- 
mune with Primitive Baptists?" There seemed to 
be a look of "I told you so" in the faces of some 
of the brethren, and that closed the question box 

Other Sessions. 

The second session of the Conference was held 


in Wilson, December 8 and 9, 1908. In the absence 
of President Jenkens, W. R. Cullom was elected 
President, and J. S. Farmer Secretary. From 
that time to the present the Conference has held 
an annual meeting, beginning just one day before 
the Convention, and holding three sessions as be- 
fore. The Conference has re-elected the same 
President each year from 19 08 to the present. 
Brethren J. L. Vipperman, Jesse B. Weatherspoon, 
and Walter M. Gilmore (the present incumbent) 
have served as secretaries. At the meeting in 
Hendersonville, 1910, on motion of Dr. B. W. 
Spilman, the chair was instructed to appoint a 
committee on nominations at the opening of each 
annual session. This committee is to make its 
report near the close of the same session and the 
officers then elected are to serve for the ensuing 

Plans and Policies. 

At this meeting in Hendersonville a few simple 
by-laws were adopted, but, along with the Secre- 
tary's book, they were soon lost. The freedom 
and spontaneity of the Conference have been 
among its most attractive features. 

From the beginning, the State Convention was 
asked to appoint the committee to arrange pro- 
grams for the following year, and to allow space 
in its Annual for a brief statement of the pro- 
ceedings of the Conference. In this way it has 
kept itself tied on to the Convention, and to many, 
has come to be one of the most pleasant and 
helpful parts of Convention week. The programs 
of each session may be found by referring to this 

It has been the purpose and policy of the com- 
mittee on programs to keep an eye open with 
reference to men outside the State, who might be 
coming to our Convention, and to have one or two 
messages from such representative men at each 
meeting of the Conference. A reference to the 
proceedings of the Conference will show that in 


this way we have secured the benefit of such men 
as Dr. Calvin S. Blackwell, Dr. J. M. Frost, Dr. A. 
T. Robertson, Dr. G. W. Gardner, Dr. W. J. Mc- 
Glothlin, Dr. J. B. Gambrell, and Dr. B. D. Gray. 
To mention the names of our own State men 
who have served the Conference by presenting 
papers and addresses would hardly be in place 
here. Suffice it to say that these men have given 
out of their best to this work, and have done it as 
a labor of love. The assignment of a subject to 
a brother for discussion before this Conference 
has seemed to call forth the best that was in him, 
and such have been the character of these pro- 
ductions that many of them have called forth an 
immediate and spontaneous demand for publica- 
tion. Moreover, the high intellectual character 
and the deep spiritual tone of these papers and 
addresses have sent us all home richer and strong- 
er in mind and heart for the tasks that our God 
has assigned to us. At the last session of the 
Conference, so repeated and strong were the de- 
mands for publishing papers that there seemed to 
be a sort of consensus of feeling as to the ad- 
dresses that such utterances ought to be put into 
a more permanent form than a newspaper publica- 
tion. A collection, accordingly, was taken to pay 
the expenses of publication, and brethren J. S. 
Farmer, W. M. Gilmore, and D. E. M. Freeman 
were appointed as a committte to execute the 
wishes of the Conference in the matter. Hence 
the present volume. 

At our last meeting a motion was made to re- 
quire an annual fee of one dollar of each member 
cf the Conference to be used in publishing and 
distributing the addresses and proceedings from 
year to year. To the great joy of the writer this 
motion was tabled. Hitherto, as has been said, 
there has been but little organization, and the 
plans of operation have been about the simplest 
possible. No time has been taken up with for- 
malities. Every Baptist minister in the State has 


been considered ipso facto a member of the Con- 
ference, and one had just as much right and just 
as many rights as another. The meetings have 
been open without money and without price to all 

preachers and laymen, men and women alike. If 

it will not be considered out of place in this 
connection to express a personal opinion, it would 
be to the effect that the Conference should see to 
to it that no red tape of any character shall be in- 
troduced that would tend to break up this open, 
free spontaneity which has characterized us 
hitherto. Of course we wish to obey the scrip- 
tural injunction that all things be done decently 
and in order. But with this one safeguard, let us 
as Baptist pastors continue to come together in 
our annual meeting with mind and heart free to 
catch and express to and for each other whatever 
the Spirit may be saying to any given generation. 
In this way, whatever one may have gained in the 
way of intellectual, moral, or spiritual attainment, 
let him give his brethren the benefit of it. So 
shall we be and become yet more and more ser- 
vants one of another. 

It may be that the pastors of many associations 
would find it profitable to hold an annual Con- 
ference on the day before the meeting of their 
association. They could then discuss questions of 
a more local nature than can be done in a State 
meeting, and yet some of the plans and even some 
of the addresses of the -State meeting might be 
carried into that of the association. It has been 
my privilege to attend one such meeting, and I 
found it very helpful. 

Looking then to the Great Shepherd of us all 
for our strength and model as shepherds of the 
flock and ministers of the gospel of the grace of 
God, let us ever keep in mind that ideal of the 
apostle to the Gentiles: "He gave some as apos- 
tles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some 
as pastors and teachers; unto the perfecting of the 
saints for the work of ministration, for the build- 
ing up of the body of Christ; until we all attain 


to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of 
the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure 
of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we 
may no longer be babes, tossed to and fro, and 
carried about with every wind of teaching, in the 
sleighs of men, in the cunning craftiness according 
to the wily manner of error; but speaking truth, 
may in love grow up in all things into him who 
is the head, Christ; from whom all the body, fitly 
framed together and compacted by means of every 
joint of the supply, according to the working of 
each single part in its measure, is effecting the in- 
crease of the body to the upbuilding of itself in 
love."— (Eph. 4:11-16). 


By REV. FRANK HARE, Angier, X. C. 

Acts 26:19: "Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not 
disobedient unto the heavenly vision." 

With simple, passionate eloquence St. Paul bad 
been relating to the king the marvelous experi- 
ences of his conversion. As a faithful witness, he 
told about his persecution of the church, his 
journey and errand to Damascus, the light from 
heaven above the brightness of the sun. the voice 
that spoke as voice had never spoken before to 
him, and his call to be an apostle. Then he begins 
the narrative of his experiences after conversion by 
declaring: "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was 
not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.*' Not 
disobedient unto a vision! Even so. For there 
is nothing so commanding as a vision, an image 
cast upon the soul. Not even a giant like St. 
Paul, with his face set like a flint in the wrong 
direction, could disobey it. 

We shall never understand human conduct or 
how to mould it. until we understand the subdue- 
ing and inspiring power of vision. Some of us 
by sad experience have already learned that no 
amount of pure reason, however logical and force- 
ful, will dissuade the wrong doer or incite to noble 
action the indifferent. Only an image of divine 
and awful realities, burnt into the soul by a light 
above the brightness of the sun, will do this. The 
evangelist is often criticized for his excessive 
story-telling and perhaps rightly; but his fault is 
the excess of a virtue and not a pure vice. He 
knows from experience that only preaching that 
creates vision will move men to action, and that 
the concrete is the best instrument for the pur- 
pose. He has seen the hardened sinner give in- 
tellectual assent to every article of his creed with- 


out coming one inch nearer God; and he has seen 
such a sinner, while questioning the creed, fall 
upon his face in penitence under the power of a 
spiritual vision induced by a picturesque setting 
forth of the essential truth of the gospel. 

The vision is the most potent of all agencies 
in dealing with the human soul, and for this 
reason God himself employs it; for this reason 
doubtless he employed it in the case of Saul of 
Tarsus whose gigantic intellect and personality 
had thus far resisted every appeal of reason. 
When God spoke in terms of reason, he continued 
as before; but when God spoke in terms of vision 
he fell prostrate and penitent to the ground. And 
if we will but think of it, we shall recall that 
reason in our own lives has influenced our con- 
duct little until it has been reinforced by vision, 
whether the action in question was moral or 

Let us, then, attempt at least a rough analysis, 
not so much of this vision of St. Paul's as of 
spiritual vision in general; and, as far as possible, 
put ourselves in the way of its heavenly influences. 
In order to do this I have chosen three typical 
visions of as many men which, I think, contain 
explicitly what this vision of St. Paul's contains 
implicitly and potentially. 

I. First, the vision of Isaiah recorded in the 
sixth chapter of his prophecies. It was in the 
temple. There sat the Lord upon a throne, his 
train filling the temple. Above it stood the 
seraphim crying one to another: "Holy, holy, 
holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full 
of His Glory!" The very door posts moved at 
the voice of them, and smoke filled the house. 
It was a moment made awful by the immediate 
presence of the infinitely holy God! Then the 
prophet cried: "Woe is me! for I am undone; 
because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell 
in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine 
eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts!" This 


let us term a vision of the Unspeakable Holiness 
of God. 

Isaiah was another man after this! He had 
apparently preached God's preaching before this; 
he had pronounced woes upon the people, being 
righteously indignant on account of their sins; 
but now having seen God, the holy God, he pro- 
nounces woe upon himself. Once the people were 
unclean: now he himself is unclean! What a 
difference it made in the spirit and content of his 
preaching! Once he denounced with indignation: 
now he warns with passionate, sympathetic solici- 
tude for the salvation of his people. He still cries 
woe. but in a new spirit. 

The pastor needs such a vision often to keep 
him sympathetic and tender, to prevent his falling 
into the spirit of phariseeism, and to keep him 
growing morally and spiritually. Having attained 
to higher moral and spiritual standards than the 
most of his flock he is in danger of comparing 
himself with those about him and becoming quite 
satisfied with himself. Such a result will be the 
grave stone of his usefulness. That it may not 
come with all its blight upon his life, let him 
often turn his gaze away from the people and look 
upon God. Paul, before his vision, was a good 
moral man, according to the standards of his time, 
and a first rate denouncer of what he believed 
to be other men's sins; but when he saw himself 
in the presence of God's holiness lie cried out: 
•'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" It is now 
a question, not what other men ought to do, but 
what he ought to do. And all this change of atti- 
tude is due to the difference between vision and 
no vision. 

Satisfaction with ourselves and carping criti- 
cism of others is due to comparison with false 
standards. A pastor of a large city church, who 
loved all his people, rich and poor, as every true 
pastor does, was calling late one afternoon when 
he came upon the humble home of a poor woman 
ofhis congregation, who was making her living bv 


washing. She invited him in and, having supper 
ready, asked him to share her frugal meal. This 
he consented to do through fear of offending her; 
and presently found himself sitting at table in 
her kitchen which was thus made to serve two 
purposes. Looking out through the window, he 
saw her latest washing hanging on the line and 
was struck with its whiteness. It seemed to him 
that this woman was rendering the world a good 
service in making clothes so clean and white; and 
thinking that she might be pleased by some 
mention of her good work he exclaimed: "How 
very white your clothes are!" "Yes," said the 
woman quietly, "I try to wash the clothes of other 
people's as clean as I wash my own." While they 
were eating the snow began to fall and cover the 
ground, the trees, the fences, the clothes line 
posts — yes and the clothes too; but the clothes be- 
ing damp, the snow on them melted and disap- 
peared; while it remained on all else. Thus 
the clothes in contrast with the snow seemed less 
white. The meal ended, the pastor looked 
out of the window again and exclaimed; "Oh, 
your clothes are not so white as they were a 
while ago!" "Yes," said the woman, 'they are 
just as white; but who can compare with God's 
whiteness?" Even so the pastor may seem white 
enough when he compares himself with the 
world about him; but when the whiteness of 
heaven falls about him he will cry out: "Who can 
compare with God's whiteness?" The first need 
of the pastor is a vision of God's Unspeakable 

II. The second vision to which I have alluded 
is a vision of the prophet Zechariah recorded in 
the second chapter of his prophecy. This young 
man lived in the days of the exile after Jerusalem 
had been destroyed and when the hope was begin- 
ning to return that the ancient and sacred city 
would be rehabilitated. Of all the young Jews 
who entertained this fond hope Zechariah was 
probably the most hopeful. He believed that th© 


city would be restored, it' not to its former gran- 
deur, yet to a semblance of its former self; and 
while he was fondly hoping and dreaming, the 
good God of hope granted him a vision of en- 
couragement. He seemed to be standing on the 
site of old Jerusalem, feeding his hope on its 
possible future. An angel appeared and talked to 
him; and as the angel talked a man with a meas- 
uring line in his hand appeared. The prophet, on 
inquiry, learned that this man was going to meas- 
ure Jerusalem to determine its future limits and 
the place of its new wall. The man went about 
his measuring; and as he did so, a second angel 
appeared and told the first angel to run and speak 
to the young man and correct his plan for the 
city; for, as the angel made clear, the young man, 
though hopeful and courageous, had planned too 
narrowly and the wall he proposed would cramp 
the development of the city. Indeed, the angel 
not only discouraged the narrow boundaries; he 
discouraged the placing of any limits whatever to 
the development of the future Jerusalem, saying, 
"Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without 
walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein." 
No man must place limits to the possibilities of 
the Jerusalem to be. 

This we might call a Vision of the Illimitable 
Possibilities of the Kingdom of Heaven; and such 
a vision is necessary to every man who would 
work successfully with God for the coming of his 
kingdom, and especially to every preacher of the 

The greatest weakness of the church today 
seems to me to be lack of vision of the possibilities 
of the kingdom in this world and the next. We 
who are the pastors of the churches, I fear, are 
no little at fault. We are too small in our hopes, 
our plans, our undertakings. I have often thought 
that the kingdom is suffering more from the little- 
ness of its friends than from all the wickedness of 
its enemies. We lack almost infinitely much of 
believing all things, hoping all things. We are 


almost willing to accept the verdict of the world 
that the Christian religion is about "played out. 
A man here and there will assert a limitless hope. 
A doubter said to a real Christian one day, 
"Christianity is a failure;" but back came the 
answer straight from a Christian heart, "No, it 
is not a failure: it has never been tried." Each 
of these statements may be extreme but the latter 
does not much overreach the mark, and better 
become a Christian than any compromise with the 
"played-out" theory of Christianity. At best, 
Christianity has only begun to show what it can 
do in a world like this. 

But there are those who say Christianity has 
not played out and is not a failure; but that it has 
done about all it can do to make the world better 
— has reached its limit. These people have used 
the measuring line and fixed the limits. And they 
have neither much faith nor much wisdom. If 
they had much faith they could not think that 
God, after giving his Son to die for the world, 
could suffer such a defeat as a check to the 
development of his kingdom at this juncture 
would involve; and if they had much sense, they 
could not think that God's cause can cease to grow 
strong without growing weak. Such people lack 
vision; and let the pastor beware of falling in with 
them and planning his work according to their 
limitations instead of according to God's inspira- 
tions. For Christianity will either do much more 
than it has done or it will play out. God's cause 
is like a great round burden which he is rolling 
up the steep ascent of time toward eternity, which 
will roll on to its destination or come crashing 
down to ruin. 

And there are still others who say that Christ- 
ianity will do still more; but that the agencies 
which were once mighty are no longer effective — 
that evangelism and evangelists have had their 
day, that the prayer meeting has had its day, that 
the preaching of a vicarious atonement has had its 
day and so on. Well, this would not be so bad, If 


something better or as good could be given us in 
their stead. But, alas, here is the trouble. When 
evangelism ceases what takes its place? When 
the prayer meeting ceases, what takes its place? 
Oh, you say, social Christianity, the gymnasium, 
and the like. Well, these things may be good in 
their place but they are not good in place of the 
prayer meeting and the revival service. Once the 
church refused to take its instructions as to how 
to proceed, from the world; but today it is on 
such friendly terms with the world that some of 
its members want to discard the divinely ordained 
methods of procedure and follow Mr. Worldy 
Wise-man awhile. A little better acquaintance 
with God, a little more prayer, a little more de- 
votional study of God's Word, in short, a larger 
vision of the kingdom would suggest that we 
have not yet seen what God can do and will do 
with the old familiar agencies when they are in 
the hands of spirit-filled men. Evangelism has 
only begun its mission; albeit we may need a bet- 
ter type than we now have in some places; and 
the prayer meeting'. Let us not talk of discarding 
it until we have begun to use it. 

The Christian with a divine vision of an ex- 
panding kingdom, a coming kingdom, is optimistic 
enough to believe that God will still use all 
legitimate varieties of agencies for the saving of 
mankind and that in his own good way and time 
all the triumphant prophecies of scripture will 
be fulfilled: "The knowledge of the Lord shall 
cover the earth as the waters cover the sea," and 
"The kingdoms of this world shall have become 
the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ." Or to 
sum up in the words of a great poet, "The best is 
yet to be." 

III. The third and last vision which I wish to 
mention is the vision that St. Paul must have had 
burning into his soul when he said: 

"Brethren, I count not myself yet to have ap- 
prehended; but one thing I do, forgetting the 
things which are behind, and stretching forward 


to the things which are before, I press on toward 
the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God 
in Christ Jesus." — Phil. 3:13, 14. 

This I call a vision of the goal of the human 
soul. If such a vision fails us, we shall grow 
weary and discouraged, whatever our apparent 
success. Nothing already attained is ever entire- 
ly satisfactory. Whatever opinion we may enter- 
tain of the attainments and happiness of others, 
we know that we have not yet attained and are 
not entirely happy — that what happiness and com- 
fort we have come from faith and hope that some 
sweet day life will be better. This is doubtless 
God's arrangement with a view to spurring us 
onward toward a nobler destiny. The Poet Her- 
bert in his little poem entitled, "The Gifts of 
God," represents God as having a glass of bless- 
ings, with rest in the bottom, and as pouring them 
all out upon man except rest; and then saying 
of man: 

"Let him be rich and weary, that at least, 
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness 
May toss him to my breast." 

God will evidently not let us be satisfied here 
even if we would. Emerson perhaps never said a 
truer thing than when he said: "We are en- 
camped in nature, not domesticated. Hunger 
and thirst lead us on to eat and drink; 
but bread and wine, mix and cook them how you 
will, leave us hungry and thirsty, after the stom- 
ach is full. It is the same with all our arts and 
performances." And the Poet Shelley, unbeliever 
though he was, instinctively felt this truth, when 
in his groping unbelief he so sadly spoke of: 

"The desire of the moth for the star, 

Of the night for the morrow. 
The devotion to something afar 

From the sphere of our sorrow." 

Only a long look ahead at the divinely ap- 
pointed destiny of the soul will finally comfort 


and inspire to noble action a man made in the 
image of God. The man who feels that he has 
been a failure in the past and that there is noth- 
ing better for him in the future is hopeless; the 
man that feels he has been a success in the past 
and can see nothing better in the future is lifeless; 
but the man who forgets the past in anticipation 
of a divinely appointed future is matchless. 
"What but this look afar at what God is aiming at 
can put heart into a man of intelligence who 
has tried these vanities of the world and found 
them wanting — who has discovered the truth an- 
nounced by Emerson that everything terrestrial 
has a crack in it somewhere. 

Some of us once fondly hoped that ere long in 
our little earthly career we should be free from 
our selfishness and meanness and stand forth in 
the world giants of strength and righteousness, 
equipped by our special training to render a large 
and satisfactory service to mankind in the name 
of God. But alas, alas! how little removed 
we are from the sin and inefficiency of the vulgar 
world! How unlike what, ere this, we so fondly 
hoped to be! But this is looking back — remem- 
bering the things that are behind. Let us look 
and stretch forward. 

If we do this we can say with Robert Brown- 

"What I aspired to be, 
And was not, comforts me." 

For we shall know that the great thing we 
aspired to be, we may be yet in God's good time. 
Though we have not yet attained, have not yet 
apprehended, have not yet been made perfect and 
"it doth not yet appear what we shall be," yet, 
"we know that when he shall appear we shall be 
like him, for we shall see him as he is." There- 
fore, we can admit our failures and still trium- 
phantly exclaim with the most optimistic of all 


"Oh, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, 
Or what's a heaven for." 

Yes, we will let heaven comfort us! though some 
of us have almost permitted our worldly wise men 
to laugh the idea of heaven out of us. And there 
is, to be sure, a conception of heaven that ought 
to be got out of us some way — that conception 
that makes heaven a kind of tramp paradise, a 
place to go when there is no where else to go, a 
loafing place where nothing is ever planned or 
done, a place of rest for those who have never 
done anything worth while. But heaven as the 
place where God makes his home; as the place 
where all the dross will have been burnt out of us; 
where all the best in us is brought forward; 
whither, after we have learned our lesson in 
the tearful school of experience, we shall go troop- 
ing home to the large life for which this school 
has prepared us, such a heaven may well comfort 
us in this present evil world; for if God be true 
and no liar we, his children, shall some day 
come home to him never to return or wander. 

But till then, what? Well, though I am so im- 
perfect, though I have so sadly failed, let me come 
to God with my poor piece of a life and say: 
"Here I am, God! Take me and use me. Sur- 
round me with thy providences in such a way as 
to bring out the best there is in me; or rather 
bring into my emptiness what good thou canst; 
and use me, at least, a little for thy glory in 
this sinful world; ere I am called hence." 

Such should, I think, be the attitude induced 
by a proper spiritual vision. Let us, then, wait 
upon the Lord that we may have such a vision. 


By J. B. GAMBRELL. D.D.. Dallas, Texas. 

In recent times some very bright men have 
been courageous or unwise enough to say that 
Paul was a great mistake. I can not speak of 
these critics in terms of as high praise as they 
speak of Paul- — I think they are small mistakes. 
The outstanding figure in the Christian world. 
from Christ this way. is the Apostle Paul. One of 
his critics speaks of him as a man of the highest 
order of mind. That is true, but that is a very 
small thing in the makeup of the foremost Christ- 
ian leader, after Christ, to this hour. Paul has 
done more for the enlightment of the whole world 
than any dozen universities that ever existed, and 
if his teachings had been followed, the world 
would have been spared the blight of Romanism, 
with all of its attendant evils. 

The necessity for leaders has always been 
imminent among men. It is not given to every one 
to be a leader. There are special endowments 
for leadership, and these are God-given. Xo 
people advance further than their leadership. A 
weak and vacillating leadership diffuses itself 
downward throughout all the ranks of its people. 
A courageous leadership knits up the strength of 
a people, and, if wisely directed, insures progress. 

Every pastor in his place should be a leader. 
"Whenever any one accepts the care of a church. 
he accepts the responsibility of leadership in that 
church, and he disqualifies himself to be pastor if 
he does not assume the function of a leader. The 
future progress of the cause we all love depends 
on wise leadership, so it may be well this morning 
to consider some of the elements in the makeup 
of Paul, the matchless leader of early Christen- 
dom. The elements in his character as a leader 



can be definitely seen and no one need be mis- 
taken. Let us consider them briefly. 

In the first place, Paul had a living experience 
of Christ, wrought in his heart. On the Damascus 
road when he heard the voice of Jesus and saw 
the light, there entered into his soul an experience 
that transformed him. From that hour, he was 
faced about. From that hour his life's energies 
proceeded from a new center. From that hour 
he had a new purpose, and from that hour he sunk 
self in Christ and in the cause he was called 
to promote. It is an evil thing for any preacher 
to live in an atmosphere of doubt as to his own 
personal relations to Christ. The real leader 
must be prepared to speak, not only by the 
authority of the Word of God concerning the great 
things of the Kingdom, but he must have that 
experience of heart, which will make his testi- 
mony a personal testimony. Many a man, with 
poor equipment, has led gloriously, because of 
the consciousness of the power of Jesus in his 
heart. Many a man with elaborate equipment de- 
sirable in itself, has been a weakling and has failed 
in leadership, because he had no vital touch 
with the things he was constantly talking about. 
If we preachers are weak in our experiences, we 
will be weak everywhere. Perhaps, this ought to 
be said, too, that with a vital experience dominat- 
ing the heart, as Paul had it the dangers of quit- 
ting the track doctrinally, will be greatly lessened. 
No man with Paul's experience would ever doubt 
the damning effect of sin, nor the glorious power 
of grace to redeem. I have come to believe that 
no preacher can be stronger much, if any, than his 
personal religious experience. 

Then Paul had a definite call to service. He was 
not in any doubt as to his duty. He under- 
stood that he was separated to the gospel. His 
belief rooted itself far back in the divine purpose. 
He understood he was born for this definite thing, 
tp suffer and carry the light of the gospel into the 
dark places of the earth. My brother preachers, 


if we have to be constantly in doubt as to our 
divine call, if we are oscillating constantly be- 
tween this and -that, then we will do but little in 
the ministry, for our leadership will impart to the 
people, who should be followers, the same uncer- 
tainty and weakness. Turn where you will in 
the Bible, and you will see that definiteness and 
fixedness of conviction are tremendous elements 
of power. Paul understood that his whole life 
was to be given to the spreading of the gospel, 
and, understanding this, he cut loose from other 
things and devoted himself to the one thing. It 
is at this point that much of the modern ministry 
is weak. It is because of a lack of definiteness 
and strength of conviction as to a call to the 
ministry that leads many a man to farm just 
about enough to ruin his preaching and preach 
about enough to ruin his farming. We get a good 
lesson from Paul. At one time he made tents, 
not to make money, but that he might preach; 
and it falls to some preachers to work sometimes 
with their hands, but if they are to be real leaders, 
they will work at secular employment to make ex- 
penses in their holy calling of preaching the 

And in the next place, I call your attention to 
the fact that Paul was a man of dauntless cour- 
age. The strength of predestination was in his 
soul. A sense of being knit up to the infinite and 
the divine by the Divine hand gave him courage. 
He turned back at nothing. You will see a beau- 
tiful contrast between a man w r ho once for all has 
settled things and knows what he is about and the 
man who is not quite certain, if you will study 
Peter and Paul at Antioch. Peter got into a bad 
atmosphere and vacillated. He carried Barnabas, 
a good man, with him and things were on the 
downhill slide at Antioch when Paul came on the 
scene. He was as tactful as he was courageous. 
To cure the whole situation he got Peter before 
the whole church and vertebrated him after a 
courageous and manly fashion and when he had 


straightened Peter up before all of them he had 
straightened the church up. It was one of the 
strong points in Paul's leadership that he knew 
no man after the flesh — he had no dignity to take 
care of. And so throughout his whole career he 
was courageous to the last limit. 

There is a scene that might challenge the brush 
of the greatest artist. Think of Paul at his first 
appearing before Xero. Death was imminent. 
There was a reign of terror under that brutal 
ruler. Paul stood for his Master with undaunted 
courage, looking straight in the face of that 
brutal Emperor, surrounded by his subservient 
courtiers. You will recall what he said, "At my 
first appearing no man stood with me." In all 
the tides of time there is not a more splendid ex- 
hibition of lofty courage than Paul here exhibited. 
But you will remember another word, "Neverthe- 
less I was not alone; the Lord stood with me;" 
and so it should put courage in all our hearts, as 
we stand before the people, to know that no man 
who resolutely stands to his duty will ever be 
without the divine presence in that place. No 
coward has any right to be a preacher. If there 
is a preacher before me this morning, who is 
afraid of anyone in his church, afraid to speak 
his soul out or to do right, then that man ought 
to pray himself out of that timid atmosphere, or 
ought to resign and go where he is not afraid. 
The ministry calls for the finest courage in the 
world. There are men looking me in the face 
this minute who have to go through things that 
test them. That will test the quality of their 
leadership and devotion quite as much as the im- 
mortal charge of Pickett at Gettysburg tested 
soldiers, and besides, my brethren, people will not 
follow a coward. Nobody has any respect for a 
coward in the pulpit or out of it. If you have 
no courage then you are not called to be a leader. 

But I would like to put in this other word. 
Paul's tenderness and thoughtfulness and care 
were quite as marked as his courage. There was 


nothing of the bully in him. He was a plain, 
straight-going man, who meant to do his duty al- 
ways, having regard to the weaknesses of men, 
always doing his duty, not hindering but helping. 
If a coward is out of place in the pulpit, then a 
bully is quite as much so, if not more so. He is 
the abomination of desolation, standing where he 
ought not. 

But I must hasten along. Paul was profoundly 
doctrinal. We hear quite a good deal in these 
latter days about dry doctrine, as if all doctrine 
were dry. It is not the doctrine that is dry, if 
it is Christ's doctrine; it is the preaching of it 
that is dry and people do not like to swallow what 
is dry. Paul was profoundly doctrinal, but there 
was a pathos and passion and love that glorified 
the doctrine, as doctrine glorified the other quali- 
ties just named. We are in great danger in 
some quarters just now of contracting softening 
of the brain concerning doctrine. Doctrine is the 
strength of Christianity and no man w r ill ever be 
a great leader of men who does not have some- 
thing definite to put before them. Many a man 
can ride on a wave of sentimentalism and pose 
as a leader, but the real leader, w r hether in poli- 
tics, morals or religion must have definite and 
clear cut conceptions of important truths, which 
he himself can state to the people. 

I have already spoken a word about Paul's pas- 
sion. It was the passion of Jesus for lost men, a 
passion so great as to stir his heart ceaselessly and 
move him, even as it moved his Master, to tears. 
It seems to me one of the greatest curses of our 
times is passionless preaching. Some people think 
they are intellectual w r hen they are merely shal- 
low: No man is profoundly intellectual in re- 
ligion wiien his heart is not profoundly stirred 
with the sin of the world, the woes of humanity 
and the infinite love of Christ for lost sinners. 
We need to w r atch ourselves, lest we fall into this 
shallow, pedantic preaching, which skims along 
on the surface and leads many a preacher out in- 


to the shallows and into the dry rot of a thin 

Notice again how intensely active was this 
great leader. Brethren, one of the sins of the 
ministry today is sheer laziness. No man under 
the sun has as little time to. twaddle and stand on 
the street corners and idle away his time or take 
long periods off at watering places as the preacher. 
The preacher is the man with the greatest joh and 
the most urgent. He can not lose a day without 
falling behind with his work. There is not a spot 
on earth where people live that a preacher may 
not find all he can do. The humblest country 
pastorate has in it and about it enough to call 
out the energies of the greatest preacher in the 
world. There are simple, humble people, and 
ignorant, to be sought out and taught and led to 
Christ and trained. My soul has no delight in the 
easy going ministry that curses so many churches. 
Paul's great passion and purpose, like that of his 
Master was to fill up his ministry to the full and 
to finish the great work he was to do. And that 
can not be without great passion and purpose. I 
go back to say, that the. lazy preacher, who twad- 
dles around and goes to dinners and smooths a 
church down and keeps it easy is a disgrace to the 
ministry. I set off against him the intense activity 
of the great Apostle to the Gentiles. There are 
preachers today who are treating their churches 
like an old maid treats her pet cat — smooths its 
fur the right way all the time and is quite satis- 
fied if the cat purrs, forgetting all the time that 
while the cat purrs it is not catching mice. 
Our times in a preeminent way, call for active 
ministers, men who work at their calling to the 
limit of their strength, and I have yet to see any 
preacher who works as Paul worked who is not 
measurably supported. The simple truth of it is, 
brethren, a good many preachers are paid more 
than their work justifies. 

Let us think a moment about another high 
quality in Paul's leadership. It was out and out 


unselfish. He never spared himself; he never 
sought his own; he was willing to spend and 
!,e spent. He followed in the steps of his divine 
Master in this respect. He was willing- to hurnhle 
himself and become all things to all men if by 
any means he might save some. He counted 
not his life dear unto himself, that he might ful- 
fill his ministry. It is this kind of ministry today 
that achieves the greatest results. Some preach- 
ers have a foolish notion that they have to live. 
Paul did not think he had to live, and. as a mat- 
ter of fact, he reached the time he didn't live. 
What all of us have to do is to do the work 
assigned to us_. and our living then is in the hands 
of God. This is true, however, that the most 
unselfish men in the ministry today are generally 
the best cared for. Here the divine word has its 
fulfillment. "Whoever is willing to lose his life 
shall find it. The self-seeking preacher will al- 
ways have a big job looking for a place and for 
somebody to help him get a place. 

I must come toward the last word. Paul was 
an optimist, not a silly, maudlin, blind optimist, 
but a wide-awake far-seeing, clear visioned opti- 
mist. He believed in his message; he believed in 
its power to revolutionize men. His message was 
Jesus and he believed Jesus could do for other 
men what He had done for him. He never 
doubted and he was never down in the mouth, 
because he was never down in the heart. When 
you see a man down in the mouth, it is because 
he is down in the heart first. It is a great pity 
that so many preachers, not here in North Caro- 
lina, of course, but so many preachers in the past 
and in some places now, have lost faith in their 
message. They are trying all sorts of devices to 
get people to church. They get fiddles, and more 
fiddles, big organs and then bigger organs, paid 
singers, all the etc., of fleshly pleasing. Some an- 
nounce extraordinary subjects and amuse people 
to get them to come to church. The next step 
is a cage of monkeys in church to get people 


to come and see. Why not? Who could think 
of Paul doing a thing like this. He believed ab- 
solutely in the message he was divinely appointed 
to deliver to a lost world, and in that Paul was 
profoundly wise. He was as certain as the stars 
that shine. Whoever made the Bible made the 
human heart and whoever made the human heart 
made the Bible. They fit, they go together. 
Hallam, the great historian said, "I know the 
Bible is true because it fits into all the folds of 
my being." Coleridge said, "I know it is true 
for it finds me." The Scriptures are the key to 
the human heart. Some have another key, and 
they rattle around the key hole, but never get in. 
Paul knew his message and believed in it. A 
preacher is undone if he doubts his message, 
doubts either the truth of it or the power of it. 

And then Paul's optimism had another great 
boost. He knew that Christ was with the man 
who preached the message. There is a divine ele- 
ment in the work we are in. If it were human 
intellect for the gospel against human intellect in 
rebellion, we would all get down in the mouth, 
because the world, the flesh and the devil are 
against us, and the wise of this world, with their 
fine strut and superior airs would put us all in the 
back ground. Bless God, the preacher with his 
message is divinely reinforced. He is not alone 
even as Paul was not alone when he preached 
before Nero and made converts in the Emperor's 
household. The preacher out among the lofty 
pines of this good State, or far out on the western 
plains, as he stands to deliver God's word is rein- 
forced by a power that is superior to all the 
powers of darkness. The gospel will never fail 
until we fail of men to preach it, with the con- 
sciousness of the Holy Ghost sent down from 

Now, I must come toward the close with just 
another word. Paul's eye was fixed steadily on 
Jesus. It was Jesus all the time. He was not 
beating around among the religions that he came 


in contact with to find congenial elements, to 
fuse in with Christianity. The process of making 
up with heathenism did not begin with Paul. He 
had one message and one cry and one hope and 
that was Jesus. If Jesus were preached, men 
would believe; They would absorb everything good 
in the gospel, and eliminate everything bad around 
them. I am not taking any great pleasure these 
latter days in the philosophies that are creeping 
into our preaching. They are mere trash com- 
pared with Jesus the Master of men. If we will 
go on in the simple way that Paul went, gather- 
ing everything around Jesus, then we will have 
something of Paul's splendid optimism, because 
Jesus is going to win. He who made the world and 
everything in it is going to master the world and 
He will master it through the simple preaching 
of the gospel. That was the way Paul looked at 
it, and if we look at it that way, we will have 
something of Paul's serene and lofty optimism, 
that will turn all darkness into light and every 
difficulty into an opportunity. We will be able to 
put over against the bad of the world, the im- 
measurable good of Jesus and His reign, a reign 
coming on more and more and sure to be univer- 
sal. I have given my simple message this morn- 
ing. Let us follow Paul as he followed Christ. 


By EDWARD LONG, North Wilkesboro, N. C. 

I shall take the liberty of restating the subject 
that has been assigned to me for discussion, but 
even with the restatement the committee has al- 
lotted to me an exceedingly difficult subject to dis- 
cuss intelligently, yet, a most vital one. The re- 
statement, which is the same in substance, only 
more specific, is, The Proper or Most Acute Points 
of Contact. And I want to discuss it under three 
heads, namely; (1) The Necessity of Finding 
Proper Points of Contact, (2) The Difficulty of 
Finding Proper Points of Contact, (3) How Shall 
We Find Proper Points of Contact? 

The minister of long or brief experience almost 
unconsciously forms the habit of selecting a pas- 
sage of scripture as a basis for all his public 
discourses. I am no exception to the rule. While 
I do not intend to bring to you, in the technical 
sense, a sermon this morning, yet I do want to 
quote a passage of scripture, that to my mind 
clearly suggests and, in a large measure, explains 
the subject that has been assigned me for dis- 
cussion. And I trust that what I shall say shall 
be sufficiently pregnant to suggest to you lines of 
activity that you may, for yourselves, follow to 
a logical conclusion, which lines of activity may be 
of large service to you in your vital ministry. 

The passage of scripture that I refer you to is 
found in I. Corinthians, 9:19-22: "For though I 
was free from all men, I brought myself under 
bondage to all, that I might gain the more. And 
to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain 
Jews; to them that are under the law, as under 
the law, not being myself under the law, that I 
might gain them that are under the law; to them 
that are without the law, as without the law to 
God, but under the law to Christ, that I might 



gain them that are without law. To the weak I 
became weak, that I might gain the weak: I am 
become all things to all men. that I may by all 
means save some." 

Why does Paul when he is with the Jews be- 
come as a Jew, obey the Mosaic and ceremonial 
law; when he is with the Gentiles become as a 
Gentile, disregard the Mosaic and ceremonial law; 
to the weak become weak? He explains in the 
last clause of the 2 2nd verse — -"that I might by 
all means save some." The prince of preachers 
is simply trying to step on common ground with 
Jew, Gentile and weak that he may be able to 
get them to see Christ from his angle. He is try- 
ing to get so very close to them that he may have 
sufficient insight into their lives to touch the most 
sensitive and most responsive spot in their hearts. 
He is willing to make any sacrifice, so long as no 
Christian principle is violated, that he may find 
the most acute point of contact with them. 

(1) The Necessity of Finding Proper Points of 

Why was it so necessary that Paul find 
proper points of contact? That his message might 
be effective. 

The black-smith must know just when, where 
and how to strike the blow if he would unite 
the two pieces of iron. The miner must know 
almost instinctively where to sink the shaft if he 
would tap the vein of gold. The physician must 
know how to diagnose the case, find the seat of 
the disease if he would heal the affected parts. 
The farmer must know just when, where and how 
to place his every energy if he would reap a full 
harvest. The business man must know just when 
to touch the selling and when to touch the buying 
markets if he would garner the largest margins. 
The politician must know just when, where and 
how to do and say the proper thing if he would 
ride on the crest of public favor. The huntsman 
in search of large game must know just when and 


where to place the shot if he would pierce a vital 
organ, fell the game and save his own life. So 
the minister above all must know just what, when, 
where and how to say and do the right thing if 
he would make his words and works effective. He 
must be wise enough to grasp the inspired 
thought, speak the God given word and seize the 
psychological moment, if he would be an instru- 
ment in God*s hands for saving souls, transform- 
ing lives and revolutionizing personalities. In 
other words he must find the most acute points 
of contact if he would make his words, works, and 
life effective. 

A most noted physicist of ancient times said, 
"Give me a place to put my fulcrum and I will 
move the earth." That is, give me an acute point 
of contact between this planet and some external 
body and I will toss this earth out of its orbit. 
So, the individual if he knows how to approach 
God and how to touch the world at the most acute 
points may be a fulcrum in God's hand by the use 
of which He may not only toss the individual but 
the whole world out of the orbit of sin. 

Again, why should the minister find the most 
acute points of contact? Because an immortal soul 
is in jeopardy, an eternity of happiness is the 
hazard. Because his work is of such vital im- 
portance that nothing short of the largest results 
should satisfy him. And in order to get the lar- 
gest, or maximum results, he must know just 
when, where and how to invest his every energy, 
or know how to find proper points of contact. 
The slogan for all aggressive men in every walk 
of life for the past score of years has been, "We 
must have maximum results from minimum ex- 
penditure of energy." The tiller of the soil, who 
is often slow to grasp modern and improved ideas, 
is today as never before beginning to realize that 
he must apply this economic principle, and as a 
result, the ox team, the crooked stick and the 
pruning hook are fast being displaced by the 
Percheron horse, the power propelled machine, 


the most modern farm implements and the most 
scientific methods of cultivation. Today his 
rugged strength brings him a hundred fold larger 
i results than a few years ago. The same is true in 
all spheres of activity today. The miner, the 
mechanic, the merchant, the man of large business 
interests is striving as never before to get the 
largest and quickest returns from the least ex- 
penditure of energy. Only a few days ago I 
noticed that a machinist has invented an engine 
that will produce four to five times as much power 
from a given amount of fuel as the present type 
of steam engine. 

If men in all other walks of life today are ap- 
plying this law of efficiency with marked success, 
the minister, above all should begin to check the 
waste, should strive to get maximum returns from 
minimum expenditure of energy, and more, he 
should be satisfied with nothing less than the 
maximum expenditure of his every energy with 
proportionately increased results. Ours is too 
serious a calling to allow a grain of energy to go 
to waste or to be spent needlessly so long as it is 

But how are we to get maximum results, how 
are we to find proper points of contact? 

(2) The Difficulty of Finding Proper Points of 

This is an exceedingly difficult task. Indeed, I 
think the most difficult problem that the minister 
has to solve is, "How shall I approach my people 
on the street, in the home, in the sick room, in the 
hour of trouble and business reverses, by the 
open grave? How shall I prepare my message 
that it may always be effective?" This is a most 
delicate task, an exceedingly difficult problem. 

Israel is in bondage to Egypt. God has "seen 
the affliction" and "heard their cry." He turns 
to Moses and says, "Come now therefore, and I 
will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest 
bring forth my people the children of Israel out 


of Egypt." Moses has left Pharaoh's court for 
this express purpose. Quickly he reviews the 
power of Pharaoh and the weak and disorganized 
conditions of the Israelites and with despair 
written on his face he turns to God and says, 
"Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and 
that I should bring forth the children of Israel 
out of Egypt?" He saw the great need bat he 
quailed before the difficult task. 

Yonder to the south, in echoing distance each of 
the other, the two great oceans of our earth, for 
ceasless ages, have madly hurled their terrific 
breakers from one side and the other against the 
rockribbed and impregnable Isthmus of Panama. 
The time has come that the commercial interests, 
social development and religious awakening of the 
world demand that an international water way 
be opened across this narrow but formidable bar- 
rier to progress. The eyes of all the great, nations 
have been turned toward this world need for a 
century. They knew full well that to throw a 
canal across this narrow isthmus would revolu- 
tionize the commerce of the world and be the 
longest stride toward international peace that the 
world has taken since the coming of the Prince 
of peace. France saw the great need but faltered 
before the difficulties. The United States long 
years ago saw the crying need but for decades 
stood in awe of a need that was hedged about 
with so many difficulties. 

Here is a world in sin. lost! God's great, 
warm, throbbing heart yearns for man. He wants 
to save this world, but, ah, the difficulty! I say 
it reverently, but I believe God Himself stood in 
awe of the supremacy of the human will, of that 
indomitable principle in man! 

Yonder is Calvary, here is Christ in Gethsemane, 
stretching out before Him, is a world in darkness 
and overwhelmed with sin. The need, oh, the 
need of salvation, but the difficulties in the way 
of working out that salvation! As the dense 
darkness, born of the difficulties, hovers about His 


squI, in great agony He falls upon His face and 
says, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup 
pass away from me!" I fancy that Christ won- 
ders if even Calvary itself will roll back the flood 
of sin and save the world! 

There before you is an individual out of Christ, 
a large church lost in slumbers, a community with 
low ideals, out yonder is a China in darkness, an 
India in superstition, an Africa lost in the jungle. 
The great need stares every earnest soul in the 
face, but the difficulties in the way of meeting 
these needs well nigh overwhelm the most opti- 

(3) How Shall We Find Proper Points of Contact? 

Now we recognize the necessity of finding the 
most acute points of contact, the difficulty of same. 
It is then left to us to meet this necessity, to 
solve this difficulty. For if this necessity is ever 
met, this difficulty ever solved, it will be by those 
who under the guidance of a Divine power find 
the most acute points of contact. 

The tiller of the soil, the miner, the mechanic 
in order to get maximum results from minimum 
expidentures of energy must know, at the least 
to a moral certainty, how to expend his energies, 
he must not act on a supposition. The farmer 
must know where to place his spade, the mechanic 
where to place his fulcrum, the miner where to 
place his powerful explosive. In other words he 
must find the most acute points of contact if he 
would get the largest results. So it is with the 
minister. If he would get maximum results, not 
from the minimum expenditures of his energies 
but from the maximum expenditures of his ener- 
gies he must know how to approach God, how to 
touch man at the most acute angles of his life. 
Here is the crux of the whole matter. Here is 
the test of the minister's efficiency. Here is the 
secret of his success or failure. With this know- 
ledge he succeeds, without it he fails. All along 
through the Christian centuries some men— ^-a 


Chrysostom, a Luther, a Spurgeon, a Moody — have 
seemed to possess this knowledge to the full, 
while others have wrought without it. So it is to- 
day. One minister goes on a field. He toils at 
his desk faithfully through the morning hours, 
he runs errands of kindness in the afternoon, *he 
is careful of his devotional life. Yet from every 
outward appearance he accomplishes very little. 
Another minister goes on another field where, 
to all outward appearances, the conditions are 
similar. The latter is no more faithful, no more 
pious, no more zealous, no more brilliant, yet his 
ministry is apparently much more effective. How 
do you account for the difference? 

You have heard two ministers of equal piety, 
of equal native ability, yet of unequal educational 
advantages. The one selected his text, gave the 
setting, then literally tore it apart, piece by piece, 
as the expert machinist would tear in pieces the 
most intricate machine, held up each piece before 
you, explained to you its relationship to every 
other part of the text and to the whole. Then 
he carefully fitted it back together. The other 
selected his text, he could scarcely read correctly, 
interpreted badly. The one was logical the other 
illogical. The one was delivered with dignity, 
grace and ease the other was poorly delivered. 
Yet the one fell on deaf ears and listless hearts 
while the other touched the heart, stirred the 
soul and quickened the life. What was the dif- 
ference? One knew not how to approach God, to 
touch man at the most acute points, the other 

Here is a minister with wide culture, extensive 
knowledge, large grasp of history, science, litera- 
ture, theology. He is pious, earnest. Yet he 
cannot influence men. Why? Because he does 
not know how to find the most acute points of 
contact with their lives. 

Now, how is the minister to meet this necessity, 
to solve this difficulty, to find proper points of 


It is self-evident that he must have certain 
fundamental qualifications for this very delicate 
work. He must first of all be a man. He must 
have that innate quality of soul that will make 
him ring true every time he is tested. He must 
be an honest man. for rightly says Pope. "An 
honest man's the noblest work of God."' He must 
be a thorough-going Christian man. He must 
know God. He must have had an experience 
with Christ. The living presence of God must be 
the dominating personality in his being. He must 
be conversant with the great cardinal teachings of 
God*s inspired word. He must know human nature 
— the heights to which man may rise, the depths 
to which he may sink. He should have a general 
knowledge of the great social, economic, and 
political movements of his day. Other things be- 
ing equal, the more thoroughly his mind is 
trained the better qualified he is for his difficult 
work. Gone forever the day when the Baptists 
of North Carolina and the Southland shall be 
satisfied with anything short of the most 
thoroughly equipped ministry. The Dean of the 
seminary where I took my training in urging the 
young men to thoroughly equip themselves before 
going out into their life work, frequently used 
this graphic statement: "Young men," said he. 
"stay by the grindstone a long time in the morn- 
ing for God Almighty Himself can cut more wood 
with a sharp axe than with a dull one." Again, 
he must be an observant man. He must be the 
equal or superior of Sam Walter Foss's ideal man. 
Says he, 

"Give me men to match my mountains, 
Give me men to match my plains, 
Men with, empires in their purpose, 
Men with eras in their brains." 

He must have intelligent convictions and have 
the courage of his convictions. He must have a 
consuming passion for human souls. 


"O, for a passion for souls; 

O, for a pity that yearns; 
O, for a love stronger than death; 

O, for a fire that burns; 
O, for a prayer that prevails; 

Prayer for the millions lost; 
Prayer in the Conqueror's name; 

O, for a pentecost." 

And above all he must tarry at Jerusalem until he 
be endued with power from on high. Having 
these and other cardinal qualifications that 1 
might mention, will every minister succeed, will 
he be able to find proper points of contact with 
men? No. How then can he find the most acute 
points of contact? No hard and fast set of rules 
can be given. Why? Because every true minister 
has his own unique personality. He is not like 
any one else, no one else is like him. He has his 
own cast of mind, his own experience, his own way 
of putting things, his own way of doing things; 
every time he turns, every individual he meets, 
every congregation he faces, every community he 
enters, every morning he awakes, he is brought 
face to face with new born conditions. Under 
the guidance of the Holy Spirit he must be able 
to relate his life and message to these ever chang- 
ing conditions or he fails. Undoubtedly Christ 
had in mind this Divine guidance when He said 
to His disciples, "Behold, I send you forth as 
sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise 
as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of 
men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, 
and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 
and ye shall be brought before governors and 
kings for my sake, for a testimony against them 
and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, 
take no thought how or what ye shall %peak: for 
it shall be given you that same hour what ye 
shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the 
Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." 
The peerless Apostle Paul was an adept at adapt- 


ing himself to swiftly changing conditions. When 
the mob was about to tear his body limb from 
limb he looked into their angry faces and "per- 
ceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the 
other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, 'Men 
and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Phari- 
see: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am 
called in question.' And when he had so said, 
there arose a dissension between the Pharisees 
and the Sadducees: and the multitude was di- 
vided," and Paul was delivered out of their hands. 
When he stood before Felix and Drusilla he real- 
ized that it was folly for him to recount the 
actual details of his defense so with all the earn- 
estness of his soul "he reasoned of righteousness, 
temperance, and judgment to come," and made 
Felix tremble in his presence. When his feet 
mere made fast in a dungeon at Philippi he 
prayed and sang songs of praise and through this 
wonderful deliverance from prison the whole city 
was turned upside down and Paul was the most 
conspicuous character and his Christ the most 
talked of person. When he stood "in the midst 
of Mars' Hill" he startled the Greek scholars who 
were all the while searching for something new, 
by proclaiming unto them "The Unknown God." 
Now he is telling the thrilling story of his con- 
version, now laboring with his hands, now work- 
ing a miracle, now proclaiming the salient fa^ts of 
Christ's life and ministry. Yes, everywhere and 
at all times he became " all things to all men," 
that he "might by all means save some." Who 
has striven harder to find acute points of contact 
with men than Paul? Who has been more suc- 

So we should strive to do this difficult thing. 
If facing a company of men whose lives have been 
begrimed with sin, who have sunk to the very 
depths; the simple story of our conversion may 
be the most telling sermon; if facing an intellect- 
ual audience, an appeal to reason may be most 
effective; if facing a company of self righteous 


whose hearts have become calloused, the terrors of 
the judgment may move them; if facing a com- 
pany of the giddy and thoughtless, an appeal to 
the emotions may be wisest. It is left to us under 
the guidance of the Holy Spirit to become "all 
things to all men," that we may by "all means 
save some." 

In conclusion I can but refer you to Him who is 
at once the ideal and despair of all other, preach- 
ers, Jesus the Great Teacher. Says one of Him, "It 
is quite certain that no other hero ever went to 
such instant popularity as did Jesus. Within a 
few weeks after he began His public ministry 
His name and fame had travelled into the utter- 
most corner of the land. In their eagerness to 
hear Him, men forgot their private interests and 
their public duties. The farmer deserted his 
plow, the shepherds forsook their flocks and all 
men rushed together to see and hear Jesus. "Where 
were the hidings of His power with men? It was 
not His education. That He acquired in the uni- 
versity of observation. It was not His oratory. 
Others were as eloquent, as men style eloquence. 
It was not His leadership. Others have been able 
to transform a multitude into a regiment. Where, 
then, were the secret hidings of His power? Bar- 
ring Divinity, it was the note of reality in His 
life. It was His absolute originality. He re- 
fused to be bound by tradition or fettered by cus- 
tom. Instead of turning always to the laws of 
Moses and the prophets for his texts; the blade of 
grass, the wild lily, the latest new blown rose, the 
falling sparrow, the drifting cloud, the wedding 
feast, the journeying king, the passing soldier, 
the sight of the sower, served as the bases of His 
great discourses. It was the greatness of the 
themes He discussed. God, man, the world, vir- 
tue, the nature of righteousness, the of the 
kingdom, the reign of peace, sin, forgiveness of 
sin, kindness to enemies, duty to the child, to 
women, to parents, to the state, the hope of im- 


mortality. It was His power to adapt Himself to 
any new born condition, to meet every emergency 
with apt parables and illustrations which fell 
from his lips as swiftly as suns and stars fall 
when the right hand of God's omnipotence smite* 
the anvil of matter and purpose. Know God, 
study Christ's methods, under the guidance of the 
Holy Spirit, find the heart of man. 


By B. W. SPILMAN, D.D., Kinston, N. C. 

The Intermediate Department of the Sunday- 
school takes the ages thirteen to sixteen, inclusive. 
A boy at this age is just emerging from child- 
hood. He is not yet a man, and will not be for 
some years. In introducing him you do not know 
whether to say "Mr. Smith" or simply "John." 
His voice is freaky. He probably loves his sister 
very much, but he would not, for the world, be 
like her. He is a queer sort of animal. There 
is no other like him. 

Here in North Carolina almost every boy in the 
State has, at some time in his life, been brought 
under the direct influence of some sort of relig- 
ious training. Nearly all of them have been in 
the Sunday-school at some time. It would be 
well on the safe side to say that had they all 
been kept in the Sunday-school for a period of 
fifteen years, or until they had reached the age 
of twenty, that ninety-five out of every hundred 
of them would have been saved. As it is, the 
best available statistics on the subject reveal the 
alarming fact that of every hundred boys who 
enter the Sunday-school seventy-five per cent are 
allowed to drift away and go beyond the reach 
of the ordinary available means of salvation, so 
far as we can bring the means to bear upon them. 

The men of tomorrow are the boys of today; 
every man today was at one time a boy between 
the ages of thirteen and sixteen. In the name of 
this future generation I make the plea that we 
hold the Intermediate boy and win him for Christ 
and to a life of usefulness. 

Before being able to do anything with any 
degree of intelligence, we must know something 
of the boy in this period. The means of knowing 



him are easily available. Books have been writ- 
ten about him. You pastors were all once boys. 
The raw material is at hand for a first hand 
study. The wide-awake boys of your community 
afford one of the finest possible sources of ma- 
terial for intelligent laboratory work. The speci- 
mens are very much alive. They are liable to 
have something happening at every stage of the 
game while you are making the study. 

What should be known about the boy in this 
period? Certainly the general characteristics 
which fit all boys of this general age should be 
understood if we would work with them intel- 
ligently. Let some of these characteristics be 
pointed out: 

1. It is the age of most rapid growth. When 
we know what this involves it will change our 
whole attitude toward the boys sometimes. 

2. It is the period when disease comes most 

3. It is the age when the boy is awkward and 
shy. He is growing rapidly and the nerves are 
near the surface. He feels that everybody is 
looking at him, and perhaps offering adverse 

4. Hence this is the age of self-consciousness. 
And all who have passed through this age know 
how very unpleasant it is. 

5. It is the lonely period of the boy's life. 
He dreams dreams and sees visions. 

6. It is the wandering age. He dreams of 
lands far away. He wants to be out and going 
somewhere. And some of them obey the impulse 
and go. 

7. It is the habit-forming age; perhaps not 
so much the age of forming habits as the age of 
fixing them. Ideals come thick and fast. Some 
are good and some are bad. 

8. It is the age of crises. Habits fixed will 
stay. The mind is reaching out after other things. 
Foundations are examined and often the boy 


thinks a cause is no stronger than the arguments 
made for it. 

9. It is the age when the criminal develops. 
A boy who passes this age without becoming a 
lawbreaker is fairly safe on the road to good 

10. It is the age of moral lapse. Perhaps nine 
tenths of all the boys who grow to be men, of 
unclean lives had the first lapse from purity in 
the age covered by the intermediate period. 

11. It is the age of conversion. Generally 
the battle is fought out and either won or lost 
in this age. If the boy passes sixteen years of 
age without surrender to God the road leads 
farther and farther away with every passing day. 

12. It is the age of the highly developed sense 
of altruism. The gang spirit is highly developed. 
He stands for team work. 

All of these will readily indicate pointers as 
to the wise handling of the boy. But it must 
be remembered that no two boys are alike. And 
the traits which they have in common do not 
develop with the same degree of rapidity. Each 
boy must have individual treatment. And the 
treatment which would do today will not fit to- 
morrow. A boy is not only not like anything 
else in the world, but he is not like other boys, 
and is not like himself any two days in succes- 
sion. Hence the teacher must know the individual 
boy. Know him by name; know the things which 
touch his daily life; know the things of which he 
is fond and The things which he dislikes. Know 
the life which he lives. 

Just a few general hints as to how to deal 
with the boy. He needs a companion even more 
than a teacher. A man who knows a boy and 
who can understand him is worth more as a 
teacher for him than an expert teacher. Happy 
the pastor who can make boys love him. It is 
the first step toward winning him for the Christ. 

Be patient with the shy, awkward boy. He 
will outgrow that after a while. Shield him 


from publicity. See that special rooms are pro- 
vided for them. If not, they are going to leave 
the Sunday-school with almost the certainty of 
the passing of years from the Junior to the In- 
termediate Department. 

Be his companion; go hunting and fishing with 
him. Have a party of them go camping with the 
pastor. Throw around him the right kind of 
influences. Be what you would want him to be. 
See that the hero for him is the hero who stands 
for righteousness. 

Go after him for a definite decision for Christ. 
But do it privately and under right conditions. 
Organize them around some idea which is good. 

Make a definite place for him in the Sunday- 
school system. With our highly developed Sun- 
day-school organization some people think that 
the last word has been spoken in that direction. 
I am not at all sure of it. Instead of having a 
junior department with boys and girls in that 
department, and an intermediate department 
with boys and girls in the department, I think 
that we had better come to the plan of having 
a boys' department with Junior and Intermediate 
boys in it, and a girls' department with Junior 
and Intermediate girls in it. Would that some 
pastors here might try the experiment and do it 
so that the thing might have a fair trial. 

It is the business of the pastors to win the boy 
both to Christ and to a life of usefulness. 

The men of tomorrow are the boys of today. 
They are worthy of our best efforts. 


By I. M. MERCER, D. D., Rocky Mount, N. C. 

Sermons may be classified from two main 
points of view: On the one hand, as to their 
general contents or subject-matter; on the other, 
as to their method of treatment, or sources of 
division and material. According to the first clas- 
sification, as to their subject-matter, sermons are 
called doctrinal, or moral, or historical, or ex- 
perimental, and the like. According to the second 
classification, namely, the method of treatment, 
sermons are called expository, or textual, or sub- 
ject sermons. Of course these lines of division 
are not always clearly marked, sometimes they 
shade greatly into one another. But these are 
the general divisions. 

In subject sermons the text is presumed to 
furnish the topic, the subject, only; while the 
headings, the divisions, as well as the material 
of the sermon, are our own. In textual sermons 
not only the topic, but also the headings, the 
divisions, are taken from the text; while the 
treatment of the same is still our own. In ex- 
pository sermons the text furnishes not only topic 
and divisions, but also the material, the thought, 
the sum and substance of the sermon. 

The word expository means exposing or bring- 
ing out. Expository preaching, then, is that 
form of preaching that exposes, sets forth, or 
brings out what is in the portion of Scripture 
chosen as a text, namely, its meaning or thoughts. 
Expository preaching asks and answers this ques- 
tion: What is the exact meaning of this passage 
of Scripture; what its leading and minor 
thoughts; what their true relation to one an- 
other; and what the lessons and teachings for us? 
It has nothing to do with other thoughts than 
those involved in the text; nor even with other 



passages of Scripture, except so far as quotations 
or as briefly shown to harmonize therewith. The 
basis of expository preaching is exegesis. But 
mere exegesis is not expository preaching. Exe- 
gesis, like the blade of the dissecting physician, 
takes apart, but does no more than this. Ex- 
pository preaching also dismembers, but it dis- 
members in order to put together again; the be- 
holder during the process having learned the 
members and their functions, and in the end 
seeing the harmony and beauty of the whole. 
Such preaching brings out before the hearer as 
near as possible the exact thoughts of the pas- 
sage, no more, no less, each with its own value 
or emphasis, and all in their unity and structural 
beauty, and gathers as it goes the fruits and les- 
sons for the hearer. 

The full counterpart of expository preaching, 
as already intimated, is subject preaching. In ex- 
pository preaching the sermon comes from and 
out of the text, in subject preaching the text is 
found for the sermon, or at most furnishes the 
theme only; in the former the thought is, "What 
does God say here?" in the latter, "Here is some- 
thing I want to say for which I want Divine sanc- 
tion in the form of a text;" in the former the 
Scripture is both text and sermon, in the latter 
it is pre-text and nothing more. In these defini- 
tions I would not disparage the forms of subject 
preaching, especially those sermons in which the 
Scriptures bearing on great themes and doctrines 
are collated and discussed. Such preaching is 
due both to the word and the churches, and every 
pastor must more or less engage therein. And 
yet the broad distinction between the expository 
sermon and the subject sermon still remains, that 
in the former the preacher comes to God's words 
to get both text and sermon, while in the latter 
he comes only for the text, proposing himself to 
furnish or evolve the sermon. 

That there are difficulties, and sometimes 
failures, connected with expository preaching, no 


man who has ever honestly and earnestly tried 
it will deny. It is a form of preaching that de- 
mands on the part of the preacher very accurate, 
patient and long-continued study of the text and 
the word of God; and it is often the case with 
the busy pastor of a large field that the requisite 
time for such study cannot be gained, even though 
the spirit, yea, the yearning desire, for such 
study be present. It is also a method of sermon- 
izing in which one cannot with rapid stride attain 
unto maturity and mastery. Indeed, ability in 
expository preaching, though possible to all, is 
a matter of comparatively slow growth, even with 
the ablest. Such ability, like the growth of the 
oak, may be sure, but it is also slow, and has to 
weather many a storm. But, like the oak again, 
it will furnish strong timber and pillars for the 
churches of the living God. 

Another difficulty in the way of expository 
preaching lies in the people, in the churches 
themselves. The people in general do not know 
enough of the word of God to follow with appre- 
ciation and profit the exposition of a passage of 
ordinary length. This is true, perhaps, of the 
majority of our church members. How humiliat- 
ing it is to the preacher when, after long, patient 
and thorough preparation, he brings before his 
people an exposition of some important passage, 
and finds in a few moments that their grasp of 
the subject, instead of strengthening, is weaken- 
ing, and soon that they are not following him 
at all. Long ere the sermon is done the preacher, 
with hungry eyes, spots here and there the few 
diligent readers of the word, and, leaning hard 
upon these as his Aarons and Hurs, he hastens 
to the end of the conflict, almost vowing in his 
heart that he will never attempt another exposi- 
tory sermon. 

Of course some one could say such a result is 
the fault of the preacher, that he ought to have 
made the sermon sprightlier and better. But this 
is not always the case. It is true that the exposi- 


tory sermon is the hardest of all sermons to make 
and the hardest of all to deliver; that it re- 
quires close-knit unity and structure, a thorough 
mastery of the details, and an upholding and 
linking of all the parts; that it must be a living 
and burning organism, moving with strength and 
stride; and yet, it is also true that many an ex- 
cellent expository sermon has been a comparative 
failure, and that because the people, even profess- 
ing Christians, did not know enough of God's 
word to grasp the Divine thoughts and to follow 
and uphold the expositor. 

In the face of these admitted difficulties what 
shall we do? Shall we with a groan retire from 
the contest and give up expository preaching? 
Shall we cease to bring to our people, now and 
then, careful exposition of God's word, even 
though such sermons may be heavy and dull to 
many of them? That were childish and unmanly; 
that were being untrue to the churches, to the 
word, to the Captain of our Salvation. 

But, brethren, much can be said in favor of 
expository preaching — enough, and more than 
enough, I verily believe, to outweigh all that has 
been said or can be said against it. 

A few moments' thought will readily reveal to 
us what advantages expository preaching has for 
the preacher himself. We can at once see that 
such preaching will lead him to a closer and more 
patient study of God's word, and therefore to a 
more thorough knowledge or its meaning and 
teachings, that thus he will become a workman 
not needing to be ashamed, rightly dividing the 
word of truth; we can see, too, that thus his ser- 
mons will contain more of Scripture truths, and 
in general there will be a greater tendency to 
view and present things from a scriptural stand- 
point; also, that thus he will be guarded from a 
great deal of wild misinterpretation, accommo- 
dation and spiritualizing of the text. These things 
are at once patent, and I need not enlarge them. 

There are other advantages, and that with 


reference to the Kingdom and the cause at large. 
To these I would call your attention. 

Expository preaching will help to supply the 
great need of the day in the churches; namely, 
men and women soundly rooted and grounded in 
the faith, men and women normally and naturally 
developed in the Christian graces and Christian 
constancy — that is, strong, conservative, and yet 
progressive, men and women. 

We have too much mushroom Christianity in 
our churches today — babes desiring to be fed 
with the milk of the word, and the milk greatly 
diluted at that, babes not able to take strong 
meat, and not able to do strong work. In all 
our churches, with but few exceptions, we have 
many such members as this. They are not deeply 
rooted and grounded in the faith, but are chil- 
dren tossed to and fro, and carried about with 
every wind of doctrine; they are people whose 
religious common sense has never been developed, 
and who are easily offended; they are jerky and 
uncertain, having no stability or Christian con- 
stancy; they do not live consistent, satisfactory 
lives, and cannot be counted upon by the pastor 
in an emergency or in his absence, but must be 
frequently coddled and nursed up. In other 
words, though they have been in the churches 
for years, yet they are not men and women in 
Christ, and are not doing the work and filling the 
places of men and women. 

What is the mattlr with these people? Why 
are they still children instead of adults? Of 
course the greater part of the fault is with them. 
But so far as the pulpit is concerned, one fault 
is this: They have not been fed enough on the 
word, the pure word of God. Too much artificial 
food has been given them, froth and ambrosia 
and syllabub and lullaby. They have heard too 
much sky-scraping, word-painting and thunder — ■ 
oil of which was manufactured, not out of God's 
word, but man's word. What they need is the 
word, that word which Paul commanded Timothy 


to preach; and it is expository preaching that will 
most surely give them the word. It is expository 
preaching, the plain, earnest elucidation of God's 
word and thoughts, that will strengthen them in 
faith, that will correct, settle and develop their 
lives, that will lead to consecration and con- 
stancy, that will make them full-grown men and 
women in Christ Jesus. It is this form of preach- 
ing, I verily believe, more than any other that 
will give us strong churches, strong people, and, 
in the end, greater and more satisfactory results 
for the Master. 

It is true that such preaching may not be 
popular with the masses, nor even with the 
majority of our church members. But, brethren, 
it is not popularity that we seek, but the con- 
sciousness of duty done; it is not wood, hay or 
stubble that we would build into the temple of 
the living God, of which Christ Jesus is the 
foundation, but gold and silver and precious 

In the midst, then, of our much preaching and 
many temptations to do otherwise, let us not fail, 
time and again, to come to God's word to find, 
not only the text, but also the thought, the mes- 
sage, the sermon. God will be honored, and 
His people will be built up in the most holy faith. 

Again, it is expository preaching more than 
any other form of preaching, the careful, earnest 
presentation of the pure word and thoughts of 
God alone, that will help let meet and counteract 
the restless and irreverent spirit t)f the age. This 
is a restless and irreverent age. Time was when 
men were content to live three score and ten years 
in seventy years, and to let other men's affairs 
alone. But that age has passed. Now men must 
live three score and ten years in forty years, and 
intermeddle with everything. Men are irreverent 
now and put the unclean hands upon things both 
earthly and heavenly. Not only God's word, but 
even God himself, is spoken of irreverently and 
flippantly. It is expository preaching, more than 


any other preaching, that is best suited to meet, 
counteract and overcome this irreverence. Ob- 
serve, it is expository preaching that exalts, 
magnifies, dignifies God's word. Let the preacher 
come frequently before the people with a mes- 
sage in which all that he has to say is that which 
God has said, in which the preacher ever exalts 
the "Thus saith the Lord," and in which message 
man's thought is ever subservient to God's 
thought, and it will not be long before men will 
begin to realize that God's word is a holy thing, 
a thing not to be lightly and irreverently spoken 
of, or handled hastily and with unclean hands. 

And when God's word is exalted, God himself 
is also honored. When men are taught to respect 
the word they will inevitably respect the Author 
and Giver of that word. Let the preacher, ever 
and anon, with his earnest exposition of God's 
word, magnify the word and the author of the 
word, and not only will the preacher himself 
ehrink from all approach to irreverence, but he 
will find that those who hear him, even the chil- 
dren . of this present world, will learn to think 
of the Holy and Infinite One and his blessed word 
with increased and becoming humility and 

That the ministry is to be blamed somewhat 
for the prevailing irreverence cannot be denied. 
The restlessness of the age has affected and in- 
fected God's people even, and through them it 
has moved the ministry, and that, alas, too far. 
The cry has been: "Give us something new, 
something fresh;" and in our laudable desire to 
dra\fr men under the influence of the Gospel we 
have gone too far, we have yielded too much to 
the pressure. It was possible to gratify this rest- 
less craving only by the free use of the subject- 
sermon pure and simple, and into such preaching 
we have gone, and that beyond measure. Men 
have used God's word, not as a text, but as a 
pretext, as something upon which to hang moral 
disquisitions, as a mere starting point, a figure- 


head, and nothing more. The result is that the 
irreverence of the age, instead of being repressed, 
has been but stimulated. Finding that the min- 
istry treated God's word in this fashion, the world 
has gone on and treated both author and word 
alike. Our effort to capture men thus for Christ 
has failed, and we are reaping that which we 
have sown. 

What shall we do to correct our mistake, to 
remedy the evil? Let us return to the preaching 
of the Avord, God's word, not ours. The cry of 
the younger ministry in Germany today is: 
Enough of Hegel, enough of Kant, enough of 
philosophy, let us back to Christ. Brethren, let 
us away from our brilliant subject, surface-preach- 
ing; let us back to the humble, earnest exposition 
of God's word. The entrance of His truth, not 
ours, giveth light. 


By Rev. Q. C. DAVIS, East Durham, N. C. 

Eschatology is the doctrine of the last things; 
and in former times was concerned principally 
with the four doctrines of Death, Judgment, 
Heaven and Hell. But in modern theology it has 
come to have a wider scope, and includes the 
doctrines of the Resurrection and the Second 
Coming of our Lord. In the common understand- 
ing, Eschatology has to do with everything that 
concerns our future state. This has grown out of 
the fact that Eschatology is not an isolated sec- 
tion of theology, but has logical and practical 
relations to all other doctrines of religion. 

The prominent place which the eschatological 
doctrines have held in our discussions and preach- 
ing is due to the psychological principle in man 
that makes him direct all his efforts toward some 
end in view. Man's final estimate of anything 
will depend on his conviction as to its ultimate 
worth. No man will undertake to do a great 
thing that is to last but for a little while. It is 
because we are vitally related to an eternal future 
that the doctrines of Eschatology assume such 
prominent importance, and command our serious 

The human mind refuses to rest in known con- 
tradictions; and consistency has always been de- 
manded of any scheme of doctrine as an in- 
dispensable condition of acceptance. Men seek 
to correlate all their beliefs in such way as to 
form one harmonious whole. There must of 
necessity be some guiding and controlling prin- 
ciple in such rational efforts of men to construct 
a system of doctrines upon which they can rely 
with confidence, as a guide to a final blissful 



Now the regulative doctrine in theology is the 
Doctrine of God, or what is termed, Theology 
Proper. That is to say, our doctrine of God will 
determine for us all the other doctrines of theo- 
logy. Or in other words, what we believe about 
God will determine what we believe about every- 
thing else concerned with religion. 

Denominations, sects and schisms are organized 
around their respective conceptions of God. 

The Unitarian is what he is because of w T hat he 
thinks God is. He believes the Unity of God to 
be such that it forbids any such Trinitarian ex- 
planation as Evangelical denominations hold. 
He at first appealed to the New Testament to sup- 
port his contention. But when a candid and more 
careful interpretation showed that New Testa- 
ment writers believed and taught a Trinitarian 
conception of the Godhead, the Unitarian prompt- 
ly disowned the New Testament as an infallible 
guide in matters of faith and practice, and modi- 
fied his doctrine of inspiration to correspond 

The Universalist so emphasizes the benevolence 
and mercy of God that he underestimates God's 
justice and His hatred of sin. God is so com- 
passionate and complacent toward all His moral 
creatures that He cannot punish eternally the im- 
penitent sinner. A light estimate of the exceed- 
ing sinfulness of sin follows; and a belief in the 
vicarious sacrifice of Christ becomes impossible. 
Christ's death has only a moral influence. God 
will restore all; and will brush aside all other 
considerations in order to do so. 

The Presbyterian belief in God's sovereignty 
is such that nothing can thwart His divine and 
eternal purpose. This is something so empha- 
sized as to make the deity seem arbitary; and 
to impair the proper freedom of man, as well as 
to make man despair of acceptable effort, since 
it has all been predetermined for him. 

The Methodist's view of God's relation to His 
moral creation sometimes causes him to deny om- 


niscience to the Creator, and say that God can- 
not certainly know what a free moral agent will 
do. Hence the Lord appeals to men to accept 
Him, and waits to learn what the outcome will 
be. This emphasis on man's freedom accords to 
man some discretionary authority which would 
be denied him under different conceptions of God's 

The Quaker expects from God that "inner 
light," which often takes precedence over the light 
of Holy Scripture. The next step was inevitable: 
the inner light became the great light, and super- 
seded the authority of Christ Himself; and the 
Hicksite heresy, denying the deity of Christ, fol- 
lowed as a logical sequence. 

The Roman Catholic doctrine of God accounts 
for that whole system. God appoints vicegerents 
on the earth and clothes them with plenary 
authority. Hence the Pope, with the whole sys- 
tem of confessions, absolutions and indulgencies; 
of penance, purgatory and masses; of prayer to 
and for the dead, the treasury of merit and the 
peculiar Catholic doctrine of the atonement. 
Paschasius Radbertus began his argument for 
Transubstantiation with an appeal to the omni- 
potence of God. 

And the Baptist is what he is because of his 
doctrine of God. The Lordship of Christ is his 
controlling doctrine. He believed that God gave 
Christ "to be head over all things to the church," 
and "seated Him far above all rule and authority 
and power and dominion and every name that 
is named." — Eph. 1:21-22. Hence Christ's will be- 
comes absolute law to us. Many others have 
thought they might modify His commands in be- 
half of a more agreeable convenience; or in the 
interests of higher efficiency. But with Baptists 
unflinching loyalty to the will of our Lord is the 
highest conception of duty. We sometimes hear 
it said that we all have the one Lord and the one 
faith; and all that we need now to make us all 


one is the one baptism. But we have never yet 
had, in the strictest sense, the one Lord. When 
the good time shall come that we all have the 
one Lord, then the one faith and the one baptism 
will speedily follow. Many a man has been made 
a Baptist by a sort of military respect for the 
commands of Christ. 

I. Abuse of Eschatology in the Pulpit. 

It is in the doctrine of Eschatology that the 
greatest effects of the doctrine of God are seen, 
Logical deductions from the doctrine of God will 
often lead astray, because we are dealing with 
the element of the infinite. Inferences, appar- 
ently legitimate, drawn from the infinite attri- 
butes of God, are often contradictory. For ex- 
ample: deductions from the doctrines of the 
justice and mercy of God. The trouble is that we 
do not know what the infinite is. God is certainly 
infinite in His attributes; but these infinite attri- 
butes are not in infinite activity. This is clearly 
seen in respect to God's omnipotence. God sure- 
ly has power in the physical universe; yet how 
graciously restrained are its operations, Should 
He turn loose His omnipotence in unrestrained 
intensity upon the physical universe the end could 
be nothing less than chaos. 

But whatever our doctrine of God, whence de- 
rived, or how formed, it becomes our controlling 
belief; and we strive to correlate all other doc- 
trines to it. The first abuse of Eschatology in the 
pulpit comes from unwarranted inferences and 
speculation as to what God will, or will not do. 
Our own guesses at truth are sometimes put forth 
as undoubted verity. Thoughtful hearers see 
their inconclusiveness, and are thus driven away 
from the truth. 

Nothing is taught unless it is emphasized. 
But eschatological doctrines are often over em- 
phasized until the just proportions of truth are 
lost, and men revolt. Unitarianism in New Eng- 


land was the direct result of the over emphasis of 
Calvinism. The answer to Jonathan Edwards 
was Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker, 
and Wm. E. Channing. 

The spirit in which doctrines of final things is 
preached is of great importance. More care is, 
perhaps, needed just here than in preaching on 
any other Christian themes: for the emotions are 
stirred more profoundly by the doctrines of 
Eschatology than by any other; and if men dis- 
sent from them, their feelings are more intense. 
There is something in human nature which makes 
one respond in kind to the spirit with which a 
truth is presented. While one should never 
preach in a spirit which would seem to apologize 
in the least for preaching the truth at all, yet the 
most solemn truths may be presented in such 
intolerant manner as to cause the hearers to wish 
for some way in which to escape their conclu- 
sions. No set of truths requires such consum- 
mate wisdom on the part of the preacher in 
preaching them as those that have to do with the 
final destiny of men. 

A pronounced abuse of the doctrines of Escha- 
tology in our times is the tendency not to preach 
them at all, except as incidentally done in our 
revival efforts. This is due, perhaps in part at 
least, to the fact that this is an exceedingly prac- 
tical age. Men, both in and out of the church, 
are demanding visible, practical results from 
Christianity. This leads us to lay stress on doing 
things. As a result, Christianity has never been 
so altruistic, philanthropic, as now. Social Ser- 
vice as a science, and as a pursuit, has arisen, and 
is demanding the right of way. It is calling 
upon Christianity to make its beneficent results 
more apparent and powerful here and now in 
every condition and relationship of men. In 
some instances this takes an extreme form. Not 
long since a theological student in one of our 
Theological Seminaries, in his graduating address, 
declared that the gospel of the future would not 


be so much a salvation from hell, as a salvation 
from earthly ills. Social Service has most prob- 
ably come to stay, and very properly so: for it 
is capable of rendering a signal service to the 
Kingdom of God. We should bid it God speed, 
and lend it our hearty co-operation. But we must 
not lose the true doctrinal perspective. To do 
so will be disastrous. Men will never be content 
to be good, and do good simply, without any 
reference to anything beyond the grave. They 
must have some rational explanation of the obli- 
gations laid upon them; and are ever asking 
what they may hope as a result of the faithful 
performance of their Christian duties. Kant's 
Categorical Imperatives are always operative. 
When men have asked: "What can I know? 
What ought I to do?" they are sure to ask: 
"What may I hope?" And that is right. It is 
the intention of the Creator and the Redeemer. 
Peter expressed the universal question of man 
when he asked the Saviour: "What shall we have 
then?" And a part of the L#ord's answer was: 
"In the world to come eternal life." — an escha- 
tological reward. 

Failure to give the doctrines of Eschatology 
their proper prominence in the pulpit, will result 
in their being discussed everywhere else, and by 
everybody else, save those whose proper business 
it is to discuss them; and in the very place, above 
all others, where they should be discussed. This 
very condition ponfronts us now; and the pro- 
paganda of Russellism is becoming increasingly 
insistent. Russellism is symptomatic. It signi- 
fies that Eschatology has not receievd its just 
meed of pulpit treatment in evangelical pulpits. 
Russellism is insidious in its make up and its 
methods. It is a compound of ancient discarded 
heresies. The author's attempt to escape the 
logical conclusions of evangelical theology, and 
the evident teachings of Scripture, takes many 


1. All who have not heard the gospel in this 
life, such as the heathen; and all who have not 
had a fair chance in this world (and no one has 
had a fair chance unless he has heard Russellism 
fully preached) will be given another opportunity 
in the Millennial Age — Second Probationisni. 

2. Immortality is conditional, not natural. It 
is given to those only who accept Christ. Hence — 

3. The wicked who persist in rejection will be 
annihilated. God will mercifully put the sinner 
out of his misery. 

4. The death of Christ, was not a vicarious 
sacrifice, but only a ransom. 

5. Christ is divine, but not deity in the 
evangelical sense of the word. 

6. Organized Christianity is the result of 
Reman Catholicism. Hence local churches are 

These and other tenets of Russellism flourish 
most where Eschatology is most neglected in the 

II. The Use of Eschatology in the Pulpit. 

The best time to preach on Eschatological 
themes is not after some peripatetic propagandist 
has come along and caused a defection in your 
congregation. It must be done then; of course, as 
a matter of self defense; else those affected will 
think your silence is an .admission of the truth 
of the strange doctrines which they have heard; 
and others will be carried away also. You can- 
not help but preach about those things then. But 
the result will be far less satisfactory than if 
preached as you would preach on Missions, 
Christian Education, Faith and Repentance and 
such subjects. Those affected will naturally sus- 
pect that your preaching is not primarily in the 
interest of truth, but only an effort to hold them 
to your church. 

The doctrines of Eschatology should be 
preached as regularly and as consistently as other 


truths of revelation. The people will thus become 
grounded in the truth, and cannot be easily led 
astray on these things. Of course there will be 
someone now and then who will think that the 
only way to be smart is to be different from other 
people. You need not pay much attention to him. 
He will not do much harm to others. It is the 
man with serious convictions, and serious purpose, 
who works harm when he goes astray on false 

The great reformations and revivals have been 
accomplished by preaching on Eschatological 
themes. The burden of Peter's sermon at Pente- 
cost was the Resurrection of Christ with its 
momentous consequences. Paul on Mar's Hill 
preached "Jesus and the Resurrection," and his 
appeal was to repent because God had appointed 
a day of Judgment, and a Judge, when He would 
judge the world in righteousness. 

The Lutheran Reformation began when Luther 
attacked Tetzel's preaching of indulgences. When 
Unitarianism swept New England it carried away 
every Congregational church in Boston but two. 
But not a single Baptist church departed from 
the faith. The Baptists were still preaching the 
old evangelical doctrines of Eschatology. 

In the Apostolic age the doctrine of the Resur- 
rection was a revival theme. Do you ever hear 
that as the subject of a revival message now? 
It is sometimes done. 

Once when walking down the street in Little 
Rock, Ark., I heard a Salvation Army drum a 
little way ahead. As I drew near the drum 
ceased beating, and I saw a woman stand up on 
a small box, and she said: "Friends, five years 
ago I was a lost sinner — a woman of the street. 
One night I felt that life was not worth while; 
and I thought it would be best to put an end to 
life, and thus end it all. I was so miserable I 
knew not what to do; and I walked along the 
street wretched, broken hearted, without home, 
or friends. As I passed the Salvation Army 


headquarters they were holding a meeting; and I 
heard some one say: "Come unto me all ye that 
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest." I stopped and listened. Then I slipped in 
and sat down near the door. Presently some- 
one came and asked me to give my heart to 
Jesus. I said I was too great a sinner, and could 
not hold out if I tried. And I was told that Jesus 
could save to the uttermost all who would come 
to Him; and He would keep me saved. Finally 
I confessed Him as my Saviour. And Oh! He 
not only saved me, but by His -blessed power He 
just keeps me every day, and helps me to serve 

That is the real doctrine of the Resurrection. 
The risen Saviour, ever living, with His everlast- 
ing power, saving His people, and keeping them 
saved. Preach it! It is a thousand times more 
effective than speculating on the composition and 
appearance of the resurrection body; and wonder- 
ing whether we shall have hair forty feet long. 

Eschatology has always furnished the great re- 
vival themes, and when they are stated in solemn 
seriousness, with unmistakable kindness, they 
seldom fail to impress profoundly. "I think his 
soul is lost," said Judson of a noted Burman who 
had just died. "Why?" asked the Burman's 
friend. "Because he was not a believer in Christ," 
was the reply. 

Once a young pastor had another pastor to help 
in a revival. The visiting pastor preached all 
through the series on God's love and mercy, and 
dwelt upon His abounding goodness to all. No 
visible results followed. When he had gone the 
young pastor thought of a text which he had 
heard a preacher use once long ago, when the 
young pastor was a boy: "The wicked shall be 
driven away in his wickedness," and he preached 
from that text. He told the people of the awful 
wrath of God that awaited the impenitent, and a 
great number turned to the Lord that night. 

But one should preach those truths only in the 


tenderest manner. Remember the example of our 
Lord. He wailed aloud over Jerusalem, looking 
down at the city through his tears, and foreseeing 
the coming dreadful doom. 

I have often been asked as have other pastors 
to preach on Heavenly Recognition, and blessed 
experiences have come to me through preaching 
it. There were two grandmothers in a congrega- 
tion that were not members of the church. Each 
of them had recently lost a daughter. At the 
close of the sermon I asked the quartette to sing 
a little song, I had prepared, to the tune of Auld 
Lang Syne. When they had sung the stanza: — 

"Our hearts were breaking and we wept, 

When last we saw them here; 
But love has followed them beyond, 

And we shall know them there," 

those two grandmothers came forward and con- 
fessed Christ. 

One day I was out hunting with a man who was 
past forty years of age, and had never confessed 
Christ. He had apparently no interest in religion. 
He had a brother who had been a pastor for ten 
years, and he had never heard him preach. We 
stopped at a spring to get some water, and to 
rest. He began to talk about his father who had 
died. He was fond of his father, and was speak- 
ing tenderly about him. He said to me, "Do you 
think we shall know each other in the other 
world?" I said "Yes, if you prepare to go where 
your father is." Then began to sing softly 
that sweet old hymn: "Shall we meet beyond the 
river, where the surges cease to roll?" With the 
tears streaming down his face he stretched forth 
his hand to me and said: "Brother Davis, I do 
want to meet him in that better land. Pray for 
me that I may prepare to go there too." He con- 
fessed the Saviour, and is now a deacon in his 

Beloved brethren, preach the doctrines of 


Eschatology, for the Lord Jesus preached them. 
The rich man lifted up his eyes in torment; and 
Lazarus was comforted in Abraham's bosom. The 
unprofitable servant was cast into the outer dark- 
ness, where there was wailing and gnashing of 
teeth; and the penitent thief went with Christ 
that day from the cross to the Paradise of rest. 


By T. M. PITTMAN, Esq., Henderson, N. C. 

Littleton closes a paragraph in his Institutes 
on the law of English land tenure with "etc." 
which "etc." Lord Coke says "embraceth many 
things." Of like inclusion is the topic just an- 
nounced. The good preacher who arranged the 
program was minded that the lawyer should not 
get beyond his subject. I acknowledge his suc- 
cess. There is no escape but by leaving the 
church or taking to the pulpit. 

At the outset and entirely within the limits 
I desire to make acknowledgment of my personal 
debt to the ministry. Whatever good there is in 
my life is largely due to their personality and 
teachings. I have never had such a fitting oc- 
casion for this acknowledgement. I am grate- 
ful for the oppoi tunity. 

I come directly to the matter in hand. I do 
not presume to play the part of critic. It is en- 
tirely possible, however, that some things may 
be seen at a different angle from the pew than 
is presented to the pulpit. It is also true that 
the lights and shadows are not the same upon 
every pew. I speak with deference. 

Students of secular periodical literature receive 
two sharp suggestions: 

1. The large space given to the discussion of 
religion, both in its philosophical and its practi- 
cal aspects, suggests a well-sustained public inter- 
est in this subject. 

2. The insistent claim of a falling off in at- 
tendance upon religious services, if true, indicates 
as certainly a lack of public interest in our man- 
ner of presenting that subject. 

Quite likely the defection is exaggerated, yet 
it is a lamentable fact that many who ought to 
be reached by the preaching of the gospel and 



the ministry of the churches are apparently be- 
yond their influence, and the voice of church 
and preacher is without authority to many who 
even profess to walk our way. As illustrative 
of this same divergent attitude, it is said that at 
a great socialistic gathering every reference to 
Christian churches was received with sneers and 
hisses, but that there was no hostile demonstra- 
tion at any mention of the name of Jesus. 

I believe it was Dr. Austin Phelps who gave 
expression to one of the most profound and im- 
pressive utterances of the last century. It was 
this: "A false principle wrought into real life 
always works itself out in disaster." The atti- 
tude of the world today challenges our position. 
It denies that we are sounding the gospel mes- 
sage with a clear and true note. George W. 
Cable wrote some years ago: "Clear thought, 
clear understanding and clear statement are the 
demands of the hour." And such is the urgent 
demand of Christianity today. 

I have an impression — I will state it stronger — 
a conviction — that there are conditions existing 
with us that tend to weaken our message: 

A False Note. 

Our churches and ministry are largely charac- 
terized by earnestness and zeal for moral and 
social reforms. I have felt for a long time that 
there lacked the clear note of conviction concern- 
ing God and His relation to man. Every moral 
and social faddist appears to think the church 
and the ministry designed for exploiting his 
peculiar fad, and because many of the ends in 
view appear to be good, many of our ministers 
feel impelled to stay the great work to which 
they are called and respond to such demands. The 
New York Times discussed in a recent editorial 
the campaign instituted by the Bishop of London 
against immorality in the theater, and charac- 
terized it as "Clearly undertaking to cure a 
malady by doctoring the symptoms." The editor 


then went to the heart of the matter, declaring: 
"There is plenty for the church to do. The frame 
of mind and habit of thought . . . must be 
attacked and cured." 

There may have been a time when "reform" 
and "reformer" were decent words to address to 
serious minded, thoughtful men, but it has 
hardly been so in our day. Li Hung Chang, the 
noted Chinese statesman and scholar, spoke out 
of a full heart when he said, "I hate a profes- 
sional reformer as I hate a nagging woman; each 
has the idea that the other party was not en- 
dowed with even a place for brains, to say nothing 
of possessing any mentality." 

Let us understand that Christianity is of Christ 
and that no reform is comparable to that new 
life of which He is heart and soul. 

Another false note is a tendency to magnify 
the mechanism of religion and to minimize 
Christ. In the careless, superficial terminology, 
now current, the various agencies are often given 
a vital emphasis. The one mechanism of the New 
Testament, if such speech be permissible, is that 
of holding up Christ. "And I if I be lifted up 
from the earth will draw all men unto me." 
Orderly methods and systems of co-operation are 
convenient and useful. Only let us not hide 
Christ behind the machinery upon which we un- 
dertake to lift Him up. 

A Distorted Vision. 

There is a tendency to pettiness in dealing with 
religious thought and life. The thought of the 
world is large, and small things are not impres- 
sive. If God is not greater than our wizards of 
finance and invention, if heaven surpass not the 
homes of our rich neighbors or our modern city, 
where is the appeal of God and heaven? Is our 
comprehension of God as large as the banker's 
comprehension of finance, or our view of God's 
economics as comprehensive as corporations 
executives have of business organization? As 


we face these questions we must recognize the 
fact that we are making cheap and common the 
most profound, vital things of the universe. The 
world is making great men in the fields of thought 
and achievement. We are making petty men, 
and wonder why we do not compel the world's 
great thinkers and doers to join us. The world 
has no time for petty things except as they serve 
to amuse its idle moments. Religion is a failure 
as an entertainment, yet we urge entertainment 
as the feature of our public services. Attractive 
houses, attractive music, attractive preaching, 
and attractive hours are emphasized, and we per- 
suade men that everything in religion waits upon 
their taste, comfort, convenience and approval. 
Who ever hears of an invitation to one of our great 
churches urged upon the ground that we will have 
a very earnest and faithful presentation of the gos- 
pel? What is the result? Why men take us at our 
own valuation and leave us alone, not because 
they are irreligious or immoral, but because they 
do not find us worth while. Let us remember 
that it is a question of values. What is the 
greatest thing in the world? Religion was never 
designed to run with the currents of the world, 
but counter to them — to cross, and divert and 
control them. It is a compelling power. Light 
minds are pleased with trifles, but strong men are 
not won that way. A strong, clear comprehension 
of the eternal verities, and a strong, clear 
presentation of them is the demand of the hour. 
I may only mention as I pass from this thought 
the same tendency in the common use of charac- 
terless hymns, and the familiar address toward 
God. It may be well to remember that even 
those who leaned on Jesus' bosom called him 
"Lord" and "Master," and though full of love 
and tenderness He bore himself with dignity and 
"spake as one having authority." Better ac- 
quaintance with the Scriptures would relieve this 
situation. Green in the History of the English 
People says: "Even to common minds familiarity 


with grand poetic imagery in prophet and apo- 
calypse gave a loftiness and ardor of expression 
that with all its tendency to exaggeration and 
bombast we may prefer to the slipshod vulgar- 
isms of today." 

Sapping the Foundations. 

There is a noticeable tendency to ignore the 
great doctrines of Christianity — the fundamental, 
vital truths concerning God. redemption, sin and 
the forgiveness of sin, regeneration. Strong 
Christian character apart from positive convic- 
tions of the truth is out of the question. Unfor- 
tunately our views of what constitutes Christian 
character are not always clear. Abou Ben Adhem 
may be good poetry, but is poor theology. Hav- 
ing a decent character and being a kind neigh- 
bor does not make one a Christian. I recall a 
revival meeting invitation something like this: 
"If you have made up your mind to make your 
life subject to God's will come forward and unite 
with the church." This seems to make it wholly 
a matter for the individual. He may be saved, 
unsaved, saved again and so on indefinitely, while 
God looks on without any part in it. It is one way 
of adding to the church membership but a little 
suggestive of the conversation between an Eng- 
lish and a French surgeon about a very difficult 
and hazardous operation. The Englishman, in 
reply to the other's inquiry, said he had performed 
the operation five times, succeeding four times. 
Why I have performed it a hundred times said 
the Frenchman. With what success? he was 
asked. "Oh, the patients all died, but the opera- 
tion was brilliant." 

Departure From Principle. 

The last of these tendencies to which I shall 
refer is the subversion of the old Baptist prin- 
ciple of the Separation of Church and State. In 
the days of our weakness and struggle for exist- 


ence we urged this principle with might and 
main. We won out. Now that we have waxed 
great and are as the sands of the sea for multi- 
tude, and our banner waves triumphantly to the 
uttermost parts of the earth, we are placing our- 
selves alongside the Church of England and the 
Church of Rome as offenders against this princi- 
ple — with the difference that they have never ad- 
mitted it as a principle at all, while we have been 
its peculiar champions. In North Carolina during 
the past few years the churches have repeatedly 
meddled with the law-making prerogative of the 
State in respect of Sunday laws, divorce, public 
education, child labor, liquor dispensaries and 
prohibition. I believe our Baptist churches took 
part in all or nearly all these questions. Our 
leaders went so far in political bargaining in at 
least one instance that we are ashamed to have it 
mentioned. A Virginia Baptist Association is re- 
ported to have recently approved President Wil- 
son's Mexican policy, and the end is not yet in 
sight. The only rift in the cloud is the action of 
Secretary Johnston, Dr. Vann and Dr. Poteat op- 
posing a constitutional amendment in respect of 
the use of the Bible in our public schools, and 
many of our brethren have scarcely recovered 
yet from the shock and surprise of this recurrence 
to sound principle. 

The life of Christianity is spiritual; its power 
is ethical. Within the realm of the spiritual and 
the ethical it is supreme. Beyond any other 
power or influence it lays hold upon the individ- 
ual and adjusts him to every environment of 
life. It makes him a loyal citizen of pagan Rome 
and of Christian America. Whether he is bond or 
free, his spirit is refined and his character en- 
nobled. It overshadows all human greatness and 
illuminates the dark places of earth. God is 
its one source, its appeal is the commanding per- 
sonality of Jesus and its weapons are spiritual — 
"Not by might nor by power but My spirit, saith 
the Lord." Man's life is complex. His relations 


vary. The church, the state, the family, each 
within its own province is entitled to his al- 
legiance and his best individual thought and 
serA'ice. It was under a pagan ruler that Christ 
said: "Render unto Caesar the things which are 
Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." 

The law of the state is not the absolute, 
ideal right, but experimental and political, having 
reference to the state of society and public opin- 
ion and changing as these change. The law does 
not appeal to the conscience or moral conscious- 
ness of a man. It is not persuasive, it is the ex- 
ercise of authority and force. It bends and con- 
trols, and punishes, and destroys men. 

The law of Christ is ideal. It is absolutely 
right. It works upon the life and conscience. 
There can be no bad communities composed of 
good men. Good men will make good citizens, 
good neighbors and good states with good laws. 
The work of the churches is to make good men, 
so that they shall make the world good through 
the great principles of right and goodness which 
are from God. It is distressing to see Christian 
ministers giving up the fight just as the victory is 
won. Everywhere men of the world are confess- 
ing that secular laws are impotent to deal with 
the great moral wrongs of society. Guizot in 
his profound discussion of the History of Civili- 
zation, bases it upon two facts — the melioration 
of the inward man and the melioration of his 
external condition. Speaking of Christianity in 
this connection, he says: "Christianity was in no 
way addressed to the social condition of man; it 
distinctly disclaimed all interference with it. It 
commanded the slave to obey his master. It 
attacked none of the great evils, none of the gross 
acts of injustice, by which the social system of 
that day was disfigured; yet who but will ac- 
knowledge that Christianity has been one of the 
greatest promoters of civilization? And where- 
fore? Because it has changed the interior condi- 
tion of man, his opinions, his sentiments: because 


it has regenerated his moral and intellectual 

God's rule is over the hearts and consciences of 
men, and when our churches seek to influence^ 
the outward lives of men except through their 
inward spirits, they violate the vital principle of 
Christianity. It is no justification or excuse that 
we claim to be doing good. So did Saul of 
Tarsus claim and so did the judges of the In- 
quisition, so do Catholics today when they ask 
public funds for their schools and so does the 
Church of England in its grasp of public 
education in England. Who shall judge us? 
When Charles Lee, who at least compromised 
himself with the British, sought the destruction 
of Arnold for his treachery, one wrote something 
like this — "It argues the effrontery of baseness 
for one man to hunt another to his death for 
that which his own hand has been raised to do." 
How dare we rebuke the presumption of others 
in doing what we are also trying to do? 

Before passing from this I wish it to be clearly 
understood that I am not opposing the laws which 
so many brethren would have the churches urge. 
As an individual and a citizen I am giving nearly 
all of them my hearty support, and recognize the 
propriety of every other man doing the same. 

Constructive Work. 

But I must not detain you, and close with one 
further thought — and that is to propose some- 
thing better than the petty, weak, mischievous 
things of which I have been speaking. And there 
is something better, something real and vital. 
Our God is supreme. He rules the universe — 
power and majesty and riches are in His hands. 
His plans for the Kingdom are constructive, and 
the first step in the Christian program is a new 
life — "Ye must be born again." 

Mr. Green in his History of the English People, 
makes this statement of the Calvinist thought: 
"But religion in its deepest and innermost sense 


had to do not with churches but with the individ- 
ual soul." Our churches must realize that they 
are dealing with souls, making thought, convic- 
tion, character, manhood — after the model of the 
Lord Jesus Christ. It is the constructive work of 
making men who will deal righteously, and there- 
fore wisely, in every relation and every situation. 
This is the work that brought the Son of God to 
the sublimest sacrifice the world has ever wit- 
nessed. It is the work which has made possible 
every notable achievement of civilization. Oh 
the shame of a man called to the Christian mini- 
stry and to such a work turning aside to the slave- 
driving career of a reformer! 

A notable book just from the press furnishes 
an intensely interesting view of the power of 
the Gospel apart from any reformatory attach- 
ments. I refer to the memoir of Li Hung Chang, 
the Chinese scholar and statesman. He was one 
of the most conspicuous figures in the history of 
the last century. The book shows him in early 
life hating the Christians and desiring their ruin. 
A little later he becomes slightly more tolerant, 
then he wishes that they might have entire free- 
dom. Still later he compares the doctrines of 
Christ with the teachings of Confucius and de- 
clares that if he lived in America or Europe he 
would wish to be known as a Christian. As a 
final touch we find him admitting two poor Chris- 
tians to audience and when they fall into earnest 
prayer for him we see him deeply moved and ap- 
preciative of their concern for him and dismissing 
them with kindness. As we read this record a great 
light comes to us giving a clearer insight into re- 
cent conditions in China than could possibly 
come to us in any report from the missionaries. 
The silent influence upon the inner life of the peo- 
ple, heart speaking to heart, that was construc- 
tive work and it was effective. 

Last September Lord Haldane, Lord Chancellor 
of Great Britain in a notable address before the 
American Bar Association on Higher Nationality 


said: "But the guide to which the citizen 
mostly looks is just the standard recognized by 
the community, a community made up mainly of 
those fellow-citizens whose good opinion he re- 
spects and desires to have. He has everywhere 
round him an object lesson in the conduct of 
decent people towards each other and towards 
the community to which they belong, without 
such conduct and the restraints which it im- 
poses there could be no tolerable social life, and 
real freedom from interference would not be en- 
joyed. It is the instinctive sense of what to do 
and what not to do in daily life and behavior 
that is the source of liberty and ease." It must 
be then that the influence which sets these stand- 
ards is the influence which makes society and 
the life of the people, and our great work is 
to set up the standards of Christ that men shall 
be drawn by the truth and the truth shall 
make them free. 

Columbia University has a greater number of 
students than any other American University, 
and its financial resources amount to $55,000,000, 
yet. Presilent Butler fervently protests against 
the current view that Columbia can claim prece- 
dence on account of the great number brought 
under the influence of the university. He says: 

"The real test and measure of a university's 
efficiency are not the number of students en- 
rolled, the size of its endowment, or the mag- 
nificence of its physical equipment. The true 
test and measure are to be found in the pro- 
ductive scholarship of the university's teachers 
and in the quality of the men and women who 
go out with the stamp of the university's ap- 
proval upon them." 

The social life of Athens "was such that none 
but very able men could take any pleasure in 
it; on the other hand, she offered attractions 
such as men of the highest ability and culture 
could find in no other city. And in the century 
between 530 and 430 B.C., she produced four- 


reen men who have not been equalled by any 
nation in any century of the world's history. In 
Athens was an environment of intellectual great- 
ness fruitful of intellectual products, forcing 
upon us the thought that our social and com- 
munity life must have its legitimate fruitage and 
such attractive and repulsive power a,s shall 
keep steady the development of that community 
in harmony with its dominant principle or idea. 
There is also an emphasis of the thought so 
forcefully presented by John Stuart Mill: "Sud- 
den effects in history are generally superficial. 
Causes which go deep down into the roots of 
future events produce the most serious parts 
of their effect only slow T ly." 

So it is borne upon us that thoughtful men 
are awaking to the idea that everything de- 
pends upon the real man — the inward man. 

The constructive work of Christianity build- 
ing upon the new life is to create "the frame of 
mind and habit of thought" consonant with the 
spirit and teaching of God, and, as a little 
leaven working in the loaf bread, make the 
kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of our 
Lord and His Christ. 

Lowell expresses something of the thought 
that I have been urging: 

BE NOBLE! and the nobleness that lies 

In other men, sleeping, but never dead, 

Will rise in majesty to meet thine own: 

Then wilt thou see it gleam in many eyes, 

Then will pure light around thy path be shed, 

And thou wilt never more be sad and lone?" 


By S. Z. BATTEN, D.D., Philadelphia. 

Several years ago thinking men became im- 
pressed with the importance of preserving the 
Adirondack forests in the State of New York. It 
was explained that the preservation of the forests 
was necessary in order to maintain the proper 
flow of water in the Hudson river. This river 
the great commercial highway of the state, fur- 
nishes power for countless mills and factories and 
adds incalculably to the wealth of the people. Yet 
this river was in danger of losing its prestige and 
its power. Up among the hills and mountains 
are the great trees with their countless leaves that 
shade the ground and keep it moist and cool. On 
every hillside and in every valley are little bub- 
bling springs; from each spring a narrow thread 
of silver goes sparkling down over stones and 
under moss; now it is met by another thread of 
silvery water; on they go together, lost in one 
another's life; now the thread grows into a rill; 
the rill swells into a brook, the brook expands in- 
to a creek, the creek widens out into the majestic 
and beautiful river. The cutting off of the for- 
ests meant the drying up of those numberless 
springs far away in the mountains; and the dry- 
ing up of those springs meant the dwindling of the 
mighty river. Dry up the springs, cut off the 
head waters, and the river will dwindle and nar- 
row. Which thing is an allegory. 

What the thousands of springs far away in the 
mountains are to the Hudson River that the 
country churches are to the mighty river of 
Christian influence flowing through our land. 
Cut off the head waters, let the country churches 
die, and the city churches will dwindle and the 
whole cause of Christ will feel the effect. The 
question of the country church is one of the most 


vital questions facing us at this hour. In a large 
sense the tide of city life rises or falls with the 
rise or fall of the country church. Thus far the 
question of the country church has been almost 
wholly neglected; for a generation and more the 
attention of man has been directed to the city 
church and its problem. We have many volumes 
dealing with the Social Problem, but these have 
dealt almost exclusively with city life and city 
conditions. In these latter days we have heard 
much of Social Service, and thus far nearly all of 
the books relating to this important department 
of work have dealt with the city and its needs. 
But this is only one half of the problem; in fact the 
question of the city is largely the question of the 
country. Did time permit I could show from his- 
tory that nations have been strong or weak, they 
have grown or they have decayed according to the 
condition of the country districts. The cities 
grew at the expense of the country; with the pas- 
sing away of the sturdy patriotic yeoman class 
and the decline of the rural districts there came 
a decline of the very nation itself. Rome began 
to die in the country before it began to die in the 
city; the decline of the country caused the decline 
of Rome. If America loses its sturdy, patriotic, 
pure hearted and Christian rural population, it 
will go to the rubbish heap of history with Baby- 
lon and Rome. However, I am not dealing with 
history but with life today, and so I cannot pur- 
sue this inquiry any further. 

1. The Condition of the Country Church. 

It is not necessary for me to quote statistics 
with reference to the country churches. But in 
the past few years at least ten thousand country 
churches have died in our land, and probably 
twice as many today are in a weak and dying 
state. What are the conditions? And what are 
the causes? 

Throughout the world there is a most marked 


movement today: It is the drift toward the city. 
It is sometimes supposed that this is an American 
phenomenon, but as a matter of fact it is a 
world-wide movement. London is over two 
thousand years old, but four-fifths of its growth 
belongs to the nineteenth century. Prom 18 50 
to IS 90 Berlin grew faster than New York City. 
Rome has increased in population more than fifty 
per cent, since 1890. The cities are growing 
more rapidly than the country; in many cases 
they are growing at the expense of the country. 
In nearly every state the rural population is de- 
creasing; east and west we observe the same 
movement, in the older and in the newer states. 
In the state of Iowa there are ninety-nine coun- 
ties; of these, seventy-one counties have de- 
creased in population during the past decade. The 
counties showing any gains are those with cities; 
the counties without larger towns or cities showed 
a decrease. 

With this shifting of population there has come 
a change in the population itself. A generation 
ago in all of our states the rural population as 
a rule was American Protestant, church going and 
homogeneous. Today in many sections the popu- 
lation is largely foreign, Catholic or nothing, non- 
church going and heterogeneous. The Americans 
have gone and the Hungarians, the Bohemians, 
the Italians, the Germans and Russians have 
taken their places. I know a farming district in 
New Jersey where, when I was a boy, nearly every 
farmer owned his farm and practically every fam- 
ily attended church regularly. I have seen the 
old church yard in the village filled with farmers' 
teams on a Sunday morning. But a total change 
has passed over the whole section. Some of the 
older farmers are dead; others have moved into 
town; nine-tenths of the young people have left 
the farms. Today these farms are rented out to 
a poorer and inferior class of tenants, and the 
church yard is empty Sunday morning. 

Another thing; with this change in the popu- 


lation of the rural districts there has come a 
change quite as significant in the ownership of 
the farms. A generation ago as a rule the farms 
were owned by the men who cultivated them. 
Today this has changed or it is fast changing. 
Some time ago I was discussing this question 
with a banker in an Iowa town of some five thou- 
sand population. He showed me how in the past 
few years men have bought up the farms in the 
neighborhood so that today we find many men 
owning from five hundred to two thousand acres. 
The owners of the large farms live in the town; 
where once we had half a dozen farmers living 
on their own farms we now have one land pro- 
prietor with one or two tenant families. This 
explains in part two things: the change in the 
population and the decrease in the rural popula- 

The people are leaving the country and the 
country towns. For a generation and more there 
has been a steady stream of young life flowing 
from the country into the cities. The more am- 
bitious and energetic young people are leaving the 
country for the city. Several causes, some ex- 
pulsive so far as the country is concerned, some 
attractive so far as the city is concerned, have 
contributed to this result. The more active and 
capable have left the country because they tire 
of its monotony; because they find few opportu- 
nities for progress; because they have the feeling 
that the country is crude and inferior. They 
have gone into the cities because they believed 
the cities offered larger opportunity and richer 
prizes; because they wanted to be in the midst of 
life and its movements; because they had the no- 
tion that the city represented a higher type of civi- 
lization. The consequence is that the country is 
drained of the more active and energetic young 
people, the very people that are so greatly needed 
in. the country at this time. Those who remain 
are often the less ambitious and capable who 
would go if they had the courage and the chance. 


The results of all these changes are seen in 
a hundred thousand rural communities all over 
the land. The people in the country today lack 
energy and push and initiative. I have found 
country towns that were as dead as a graveyard. 
Everybody seems to have gone to sleep. Nobody 
seems to care a whit for the common welfare. 
How such people keep out of mischief is a mys- 
tery to me. As a matter of fact the young peo- 
ple find mischief and plenty of it. I was born on 
a farm in New Jersey and grew up in Philadel- 
phia. I have been pastor in a country village and 
I have been pastor in Philadelphia and New York 
and Lincoln. And I say deliberately that I had 
rather bring up a family of children in the large 
city than in the average cross roads village. 

Again, the results of the changes are seen in 
hundreds of country churches all over the land. 
The churches are small and the workers are few. 
There are churches with seventy-five members 
that can not muster half a dozen reliable men. 
Were it not for the good women many of these 
churches would die within a year. As a matter 
of fact many of the country churches are largely 
manned by women. There are country churches, 
plenty of them, in which all of the available men 
are deacons and all of the working men are wo- 
men. At best there is a sad lack of male mem- 
bers and of these too few can be counted upon 
to do effective church work. Many of these 
churches are living at a poor dying rate; some of 
them are as dead as they ever will be. The men 
in the country towns in many parts of our coun- 
try have largely ceased to attend church. They 
have caught the city fever and it has affected their 
church going. 

The country churches today find it harder and 
ever harder to secure suitable pastors. Several 
causes have combined and contributed to turn 
young men aAvay from the country pastorate. 
One is the inadequate support that is offered the 
country pastor. Young men leaving the Semi- 


nary are somewhat reluctant to enter the pastor- 
ate of the country church. And sometimes it 
must be confessed there are reasons for this re- 
luctance. The young man knows that in the 
country his salary will be small at the best; if 
the Lord will keep him humble the people can 
keep him poor. He needs books and current 
literature, especially during the early years of 
his ministry. If he goes without books and 
magazines he misses the intellectual quickening 
and broadening of vision that the age demands. 
Besides his members are usually widely scattered. 
He often has two or three preaching stations at a 
distance. A vast amount of time must be spent 
on the road. A funeral will sometimes con- 
sume a whole day. His study is neglected and 
he ceases to advance. Thus to enter a country 
pastorate at the beginning often means to doom 
oneself for life. There was once a country pastor 
that received the munificent salary of $500 a year. 
Out of this sum he paid house rent and supported 
a wife and child. By careful management a few 
dollars were saved for books and magazines. But 
a good deacon one day insinuated that if the pas- 
tor had so much money to spend for books it 
was possible for him to preach on a smaller 
salary. That particular deacon is dead now, but 
members of his tribe remain. 

There is one other factor which complicates 
the problem, and that is the number of churches 
in a rural community. There are many commu- 
nities east and west that are sadly overchurched. 
I know a town of twenty-two hundred people with 
thirteen churches. I know another town of 
twenty-eight hundred people and eighteen 
churches. What is the result? All the churches 
are. weak and struggling; half of them are pastor- 
less much of the time. The struggle for existence 
is so keen that no church has any time or dispo- 
sition to co-operate with its neighbors in commu- 
nity betterment. No wonder that earnest young 
men with red rich blood and a life to invest 


should give such fields a wide berth. It is sim- 
ply a waste of time for eighteen trained and de- 
veloped pastors to spend their time with eigh- 
teen churches in a town of twenty-eight hundred 
people. All over the land we hear the complaint 
that men have dropped out of the churches and 
are not found in the congregations. This is the 
condition in the cities and it is even more 
markedly so in the country. In many country 
towns the proportion of church going men is 
pitifully small, and young men are especially con- 
spicuous by their absence. But after all I do not 
see how the men can be so severely censured. 
The principal of the high school receives from 
$800 to $1500 salary, while the pastor of the 
church receives from $3 00 to $600 salary. Do you 
wonder that many of the preachers are weak and 
untrained men? Do you wonder that many of 
the men do not derive much edification from the 

I realize fully that I am describing conditions 
in the east, the north and the central west. But 
the significant thing is this that the drift is mov- 
ing southward and westward, and in a few years 
the same conditions may be found here that are 
found elsewhere. And so I plead with you to 
know what causes are at work in other parts of 
the land, and to forestall them here and prevent 
the same results. 

Our inquiry thus far has shown us one thing 
at least. The problem of the country church is 
not by any means a simple problem; it is a very 
complex problem, with many factors and ele- 
ments; in truth it is a part of the whole social 
problem of our day. The churches are weak and 
moribund, for one reason because the rural popu- 
lation is decreasing; the rural population is de- 
creasing from several causes: young and ener- 
getic young people are leaving the country be- 
cause there is nothing to keep them in the coun- 
try and they are attracted by the city. The 
rural population is decreasing because the owner- 


ship of the farm is more and more passing into 
a few hands. The shifting of population today is 
a part of the process of change and readjustment 
that is going on all over the world. The prob- 
lem of the country church is an economic problem. 
It is a social problem. It is a spiritual problem. 
The economic base of the rural community has 
changed, and this means a change in the entire 
social life: and this affects the spiritual life of the 

I am aware that the picture thus far drawn is 
somewhat dark. But I am ready to maintain that 
in its main outline it is a truthful picture. The 
first thing is for us to know the problem before us, 
to see it in all its details with unblinking eyes, 
and to realize what are the features that enter 
into both the problem and its solution. At any 
rate there can be no solution of any indefinite and 
unclear problem. There are many ways of put- 
ting out a fire, but shutting your eyes is not one 
of them. We face this problem in confidence and 
hope for the Christian knows no insoluble prob- 
lems, to him there are no impossible tasks- 
Rather every problem is simply a new opportuni- 

II. The Factors in the Solution. 

The problem of the country church being a 
complex problem can never be solved by any one 
factor alone. One man would tell us that the 
problem of the country church is a very simple 
one — it is the problem of Christian evangelism. 
Give us earnest evangelistic pastors in all of these 
churches, let them be paid a fair salary and be 
supported by a loyal and Spirit-filled membership, 
and the problem will be solved. Yes, and if the 
sky should fall we might all catch larks. How to 
to secure these earnest and evangelistic pastors 
for these churches; how to obtain for them an 
adequate support; how to develop a loyal and 
spiritual church membership, is the very problem 
we have to solve. We cannot have these earnest 


and devoted young men for the ministry unless 
the country churches can breed such men. And 
we could not keep these devoted and warm- 
hearted men in the country pastorates unless we 
have churches to hold them and they have people 
to work with. The primary problem we thus see 
is to have people in the country with whom the 
pastors can work; the primary problem is the pre- 
paring of brave and devoted men for country pas- 
torates. By all means let us emphasize the im- 
portance of devoted and evangelistic pastors in the 
country churches. But let us not fail to see that 
there are certain conditions which will make this 
consummation possible. 

Again: The population of the rural districts is 
changing, and the population is decreasing. Two 
things we must have as conditions making pos- 
sible a strong and flourishing country church. We 
must have an increasing population; and we must 
have an intelligent and progressive class of peo- 
ple. The quality of the mass, we have learned, 
depends upon the quality of its constituents. We 
cannot have a golden society out of people with 
leaden instincts. Israel of old learned that it is 
not easy to make good bricks without straw. The 
country church is a part of the life of the commu- 
nity and it rises or falls with the rise or fall of 
the community itself. To have an intelligent, 
a progressive and active membership in the 
country churches we must have an intelligent, 
progressive and active people in the community. 
The way to have a better class of people for the 
country churches is to have a better class of peo- 
ple in the rural community. To illustrate the 
meaning of this let us suppose a case: Suppose 
that in some community the Christian people are 
better farmers than the non-Christian; that is, 
they use more intelligent and economic methods 
in working the soil; they secure larger crops than 
non-Christian farmers and make more money in 
the course of years. There is no danger what- 
ever of the Christians leaving the community; 


there is no danger that either a .non-Christian or 
a foreign element will populate that community; 
and there is no danger further that the country 
church in that community will decline. But sup- 
pose on the other hand that non-Christian and 
foreign people are better farmers than the Christ- 
ians, they use the soil better and obtain a larger 
yield per acre. In that case it is certain that in 
the course of years the non-Christian farmers 
will drive out the Christian farmers. And as a 
matter of course the country church will wane and 
die. Suppose further that in certain districts 
the farmers are careless, and unintelligent, rob- 
bing the soil, always taking from it and giving 
nothing back. It is certain that the land will 
lose its fertility, the population will decline in 
quality and numbers. And this very process, as 
you know, is going on in a hundred communities 
east and west. The old American and Protestant 
families have left the farms, because they were 
poor farmers; they had a false estimate of wealth; 
and so they left the farms. And Canadians -and 
Italians are taking up these abandoned farms 
and are working them at a good profit. You know 
the result so far as the country is concerned. 

To have the people we need for our churches 
we must have the kind of people we want in the 
community. To have an active, progressive and 
Protestant people for our country churches we 
must have an active progressive and Protestant 
people in our rural communities. You say that I 
am reasoning in a circle: not at all, as you will 
see^ in a moment. The churches we already have 
must create the kind of people we want in our 
communities for our country churches. The prob- 
lem of the country church is an economic prob- 
lem, a social and a spiritual problem. Since this 
is so, our efforts in behalf of the rural community 
must be economic, social and spiritual. 

We must in some way inspire our country peo- 
ple to become better farmers. We must have a 
more intelligent farming population; we must 


have a more moral farming population so far as 
the treatment of the soil is concerned; we must 
teach the farmers how to make the most out of 
the soil not for today only, but for the next 
generation as well. My friend Mr. Henry Wallace 
has declared that the people of this country are 
"soil robbers," and the charge is none too severe. 
The only apology the people can offer is that they 
have sinned unconsciously and in ignorance. The 
times of ignorance God may wink at, but now He 
commandeth us to repent and change our ways. 
The people of this country have been obsessed 
with a mad desire to make money; if they suc- 
ceeded in this they were regarded as successful in 
life. Under the sway of this passion this is what 
we find: The people of the past generations have 
abused and robbed the soil; year after year they 
have cropped it close, ever taking away from the 
soil and seldom putting anything back: the farm- 
ers of yesterday have mortgaged the land of the 
life of tomorrow. In many sections of our coun- 
try the productive power of the soil is steadily 
decreasing at an alarming rate. It is needless 
here to quote authorities and figures; those who 
are interested in- this question will find some illu- 
minating material in the published proceedings 
of the White House Conference of Governors in 
1908. This means that the rural population must 
diminish in number and decrease in quality if 
this tendency is not checked. The question of the 
fair and honest use of the soil concerns all of our 
people. It vitally concerns the country church. 
If this question does not concern us then nothing 
concerns us. I realize fully that the country 
church cannot meet and solve their problem alone. 
The state has a vital interest in the things that 
directly affect the life of the people. We must 
see to it therefore that the state knows its work 
and then sets about work in an intelligent and ef- 
fective way. The time is coming when such ques- 
tions as these will be the first questions considered 
in our halls of legislation. Some day in the good 


future — we hope it may not be for distant— we 
will stop sending little politicians to our legis- 
latures and will send citizens who are trained to 
take a broad view of the general welfare. 

The state agricultural college can do much in 
the behalf of a better farming population. Some- 
thing has been done in the past; more is being 
attempted to day. But at best only a beginning 
has been made. Now the results gained by ex- 
pert study must be given to the people. 

But after all a larger part of this work must be 
done by the church itself. The country church 
must become a centre of intellectual quickening 
for the whole community. It must awaken in the 
people an intelligent interest in the life of the 
community. How far the country churches have 
been centres of intellectual quickening and com- 
munity life I hardly dare to discuss. Here and 
there we may find such a church; but many 
churches count for little so far as the intellectual 
life of the community is concerned. A Baptist 
church, to limit ourselves, should be a company of 
the most alert, open eyed, intelligent and pro- 
gressive people in the community. I can under- 
stand how a Baptist can be an insurgent, but I 
cannot think of the combination as a Baptist 
stand-patter. Yet there are country churches — 
rumor says there are city churches also — that are 
about the dullest, sleepiest, least progressive, least 
inspiring places in the community. Xo wonder 
so many people always associate a sermon with 
sleep. Dullness is the unpardonable sin of the 
ministry. There are Baptist preachers standing 
in Baptist pulpits who are as dead now as they 
ever can be. Xo wonder the young people pass 
the country church and look elsewhere for mental 
life. This is what I mean on this point: the 
country church must become a community centre 
of intellectual quickening. It must do something 
to inspire in the people a more intelligent interest 
in the work they have to do in the world. 

The country church has a large mission to ful- 


fil in creating community ideals. "The thoughts 
men had," said Carlyle, "were the parents of the 
things men did. Their feelings were the parents 
of their thoughts." "That which gives life its 
keynote," says a thoughtful writer, " is not what 
men think good but what they think best." "Let 
me make the songs of people and I care not who 
makes the laws." What the country community 
needs just now is a new and attractive community 
ideal. Many communities have no community 
ideal at all; and so they have no community 
spirit. There is nothing about the community 
to awaken in any young soul an enthusiastic love 
for the place. Many country communities, so the 
young people think, are very good places to go 
from. In some way this attitude must be changed 
and we must teach the people to love their com- 
munity. We need to develop a civic and com- 
munity patriotism, in the rank and file of our 
people. The Jew of old loved Jerusalem above his 
chief joy; our people must learn to love their 
community and to live for its welfare. The cre- 
ation of a town spirit and a community ideal is 
an important part of the church's work. A 
church that fails here is failing in a large part 
of its mission. I do not wonder much that young 
people with a trace of idealism and an ounce of 
spunk — and all young people have idealism and 
spunk till they are frozen out of them — drop out 
of some churches and leave the country town. 

Another thing; the country church must teach 
the people the simple ethics of the good life. 
"Thou shalt not steal;" that commandment like 
all the commandments is exceeding broad. I need 
not take the time showing you the modern ways 
of stealing; one man may steal by robbing a store; 
and another may steal by a monopoly price. One 
man may be a robber by being a porch-climber; 
and another may be a robber by selling an adul- 
terated food. One man may rob a state by loot- 
ing its treasury vaults; and another may rob a 
people by robbing the soil. "Thou shalt love thy 


neighbor as thyself." This commandment is al- 
so exceeding broad. We may love our neighbors 
by keeping our chickens in our own garden. We 
may love our neighbors by seeking the salvation 
of his soul. We may love our neighbors by keep- 
ing the weeds trimmed in our fence corners. And 
we may love our neighbors by providing that those 
who come after us shall have a good soil to culti- 
vate. Many people have an idea that the com- 
mandments of God have little to do with com- 
mon everyday things. They do not make the con- 
nection between the commandment and their daily 

Some people I realize will object in whole or in 
part to what I am saying here. All this is secular 
work they say, and Christianity is a spiritual re- 
ligion. Years ago Robert South preached several 
great sermons in the Fatal Imposture and Farce of 
Words. This word "spiritual" is a fog-bank to 
most people and they commit a fatal imposture 
upon themselves by its use. Most people I fear 
hardly know what spiritual means, but they Rave 
an idea that somehow it always means an indif- 
ference to real and practical matters. God is 
spirit, and that means that God is Reason, Con- 
science, Purpose. Man is spirit because he is a 
being with reason, conscience and will. To be 
spiritual means to live by reason, to live by con- 
science, to live for a purpose. Spirituality you 
see denotes an attitude of soul, a frame of mind, 
a purpose in life. One may be wholly unspiritual 
reading the Bible and preaching sermons; and 
another may be wholly spiritual plowing a field, 
working for a better community and teaching peo- 
ple how to live a full and worthy human life. 

In a large sense the question if the country 
church is the question of a trained and qualified 
leadership. Thus far we have not had a generation 
of men trained for the leadership of the country 
churches. Some of the men in the pastorate in 
city and country are not trained for leadership 
anywhere. The fact that a man can take a text 


and keep talking for half an hour may be proof 
presumptive that he is called to the ministry; and 
then it may not mean that he is called to that 
work. The fact that a man can preach with 
acceptance as an evangelist is no proof positive 
that he is a good man to become the settled pastor 
of a church. To become the settled pastor one 
must preach about 104 new sermons every year; 
he must be the leader of the church; and he 
should lead the people in various kinds of Social 
Service. Thus far we have had men trained for 
the work of the ministry, and some of this train- 
ing has been most excellent. No one honors the 
theological seminary more than I; and I con- 
fess that I have little patience with the whole- 
sale condemnation of the seminaries. But after 
all we must admit that the Theological Semina- 
ries in the past have not trained men for the pas- 
torate of country churches. Nay, in many cases 
the Seminaries have trained men away from these 
churches. The training they have received is 
largely training for the city churches, and the 
students who show an aptitude are usually draft- 
ed off for the city pulpits. Too often only the 
"left overs" from the Seminary are sent into the 
country. Even if the country churches attracted 
the ablest men of the seminaries the problem 
would not be solved. The pastor of the city 
church today requires a special training for work 
in a city and the pastor of the country church to- 
day no less requires this special vocational train- 
ing. I wish I could emphasize this ten fold: I 
wish I could bring this truth home to all of our 
people. The time has gone by forever when "any 
old thing" will do as pastor of a country church. 
I am ready to maintain that the need of a spe- 
cially trained ministry is greater in the country 
than in the city. One of the first steps in the so- 
lution of the problem is for the church to pre- 
pare trained men for country pastorates. If the 
present Theological Seminaries cannot do this 
work, if they will not; we must build and equip a 


Seminary that will do it. The churches must 
breed a generation of men who will regard the 
pastorate of a country church as a career worth 
while. And we must have a new standard of 
ministerial values and successes. We must hon- 
or the pastors of the country churches as we do 
not honor them today. Take the programs of 
our state and national conventions, and country 
pastors are conspicuous by their absence. In 
conventions their voices, are seldom . heard. All 
this creates an atmosphere and makes a stand- 
ard that influences all. I know these country pas- 
tors and I honor them for their warm hearts and 
brave struggles. I know what sacrifices many of 
them are making for the cause of Christ. I know 
how they are engaged in the hard and almost 
hopeless effort of making bricks without straw. 
And I know also how many of them feel their 
sad lack of special preparation for their work and 
how gladly they would welcome any help that 
would give them a better equipment. I believe 
we owe these men high honor; and I believe we 
should give them the help they need. This com- 
mon standard affects the country pastor; and as 
he wants to do and be something he sighs for a 
city pastorate. He looks away to the city and 
sees this, brother and that preaching to a large 
congregation and receiving a fat salary; his ser- 
mons are often quoted in the papers and he seems 
to be a great city leader. Perhaps he is; and then 
perhaps he is not. But this is the fact none the 
less that the average city pastor is little else than 
a hewer of wood and a drawer of water. Few men 
in city pastorates hold a very large place in the 
city and wield a large influence. I have seen 
both; I have been both, and I know whereof I 
speak. Does a man want a field large enough for 
any man? Does he want a place of commanding 
influence? Does he want to touch and mould life 
at its very beginning? Does he want to be the 
first man in the community? Does he rebel at the 
prospect of being unknown and unnoticed? Then 


let him avoid the city church and go to the 
country. Does a man want a field worth while? 
Does he want to serve with the feeling that he is 
doing something in the world? Does he want to 
live with the consciousness that his influence is 
deep and lasting? Then let him regard the coun- 
try pastorate as a career worthy of any man. 

The Things to Be Done. 

The problem of the country church is not by 
any means a simple one and it cannot be solved 
by any one line of effort. More than that, there 
is no easy panacea that will work itself and is 
guaranteed to cure all our troubles without any 
service on the part of any one. The problem of 
the Country Church means work, hard, patient, 
persistent work. But if we are working in line 
with the will of God we know that our labor 
shall be abundantly fruitful. We must find the 
causes, economic, social, political, and religious 
and deal with these. We must have a practical, 
constructive and Christian program of effort. We 
must touch life on all sides and must deal with 
the community as a whole. We must secure the 
co-operation of every agency of human and social 
uplift. Several things that lie along the line of 
effort may be mentioned. 

I. We must create a better community life. 
To this end we must first of all know the com- 
munity. Have a community survey and know 
the condition and needs. Then we will be in a 
position to work intelligently and fruitfully. We 
talk about slums, and many people suppose they 
are found only in a few great cities. But I have 
found slums as dismal and as degrading in a 
small town as in New York or Philadelphia. The 
evil of a slum is not in its size but in the very 
thing itself. In many of our towns we have 
slums with over-crowding, disease, immorality 
and all ungodliness. Know the facts and then 
unite the people of good will in behalf of com- 
munity betterment. 


II. We must make the community more at- 
tractive. What is the first thing that strikes you 
as you come into many of our American towns? It 
is the dirt, the disorder, the ill kept streets, the 
unsightly alleys. If cleanliness is next akin to 
Godliness many of our towns are dreadfully un- 
godly, for they are dreadfully unclean. Have a 
town "clean up day," and keep it up all the year. 
The church is a good place to begin in this clean- 
up campaign. I have seen country churches that 
were most unattractive; the windows were dirty, 
the fences were broken, the yard had a fine crop 
of tin cans, the grass was uncut, ugly weeds were 
everywhere. No wonder young people shunned 
the church. The church should set a standard, 
and should have the cleanest, neatest, most at- 
tractive property in the community. 

III. We must direct the recreation of the com- 
munity. Play is natural to the child, and play is 
necessary. We have allowed recreation to become 
commercialized in this land, and as a consequence 
it often panders to the worst instincts in man. 
Recreation has become dissipation. Young peo- 
ple must have recreation, and they will have it. 
If they cannot have it under right conditions they 
will have it under wrong conditions. Th*e Coun- 
try Church can determine in large part which it 
shall be. 

Every community should have a wise and con- 
structive program of community recreation. 
Have a "Community Picnic" and get all the folks 
together. Every community has some interesting 
bit of history. Have a Pageant and protray this 
history. Get the boys interested in clean sport. 
The church can do many things that will make 
life more interesting and the community more at- 

IV. We must make the church a community 
centre. The time was when the church was the 
centre of everything in the community: it was 
newspaper, lecture course, it was the centre of 
intellectual and social life. I cannot go into de- 


tail, but a number of things may be named. Have 
a "Nature Club"and study the flowers, the birds, 
the trees, the stars. Jesus quoted the book of na- 
ture more frequently than he quoted the Scrip- 
tures. The flowers and birds have just as many 
lessons to teach us in North Carolina as in Old 
Judea. The Patriarch of Uz knew the stars by 
name. The Psalmist saw God's glory in the 
heavens and read God's handiwork in the firma- 
ment. There are just as many stars over your 
head as shined over the head of David and Job. 
Study the stars; know them by name; pick out 
the great constellations; teach the boys and girls 
that the place where they are standing is just as 
full of glory and of God as any place in the wide 
world. Organize a singing school or a spelling 
bee. Have a Dramatic Club and get the young 
people interested. It will appeal to the romantic 
in human nature, and it will destroy the taste for 
many of the cheap and nasty shows that come to 
our towns. Have a course of lectures during the 
winter, not to make money, but as the church's 
contribution to the community's life. Have a 
"Debating Club" and discuss some of the vital 
topics of the day. "You need not fear to strike 
a ligh£" Lowell reminds us, "for the universe is 
fire proof." Wherever possible there should be a 
"Community Centre" as a part of the church 
equipment. Some people may object — whether 
wisely or hot we need not discuss, to holding these 
things in the church building. But anything that 
will help people has a rightful place in some part 
of a church. It is better, however, to have the 
Social Centre adjoining the church. We must link 
all life with the church, and we must infuse the 
religious spirit into all life. Religion is misdi- 
rected if it is not teaching us to be happier peo- 
ple, better neighbors; religion is missing the mark 
if it is not sweetening the play of children and is 
not making us love our community. 

The church may well have a community library 
and a magazine club. Let us not forget that 


Christianity has a mission to the mind as well as 
to the heart. We are to love God with all our 
heart and with all our mind. The church that 
does not touch and quicken the intellectual life of 
the community is neglecting a vital part of its 

Another thing: the country church must know 
its parish and must serve it in every possible way. 
The church should establish some points of con- 
tact with every family in its neighborhood. It 
should encourage study and family worship. Much 
can be done by having every family subscribe for 
a religious paper. Much can be done by promot- 
ing the circulation and use of good literature. I 
hope to see the time when every church will have 
a community library and will have regular read- 
ers' courses in the Bible, in church history, in mis- 
sions, in Social Study and current questions. Be- 
yond all this every church should have some defi- 
nite and practical plans for community evange- 
lism. Where any number of people are remote 
from a church have them maintain a regular pray- 
er meeting with stated preaching services. I 
realize fully that the pastor cannot do all of this 
work. But this is the work the deacons should 
do. Deacons in the early church were not mere 
figure-heads and office "holders," they were ac- 
tive workers and effective preachers. The church 
must develop from within its membership the 
workers who are needed for all of its service. 

V. W T e must redirect the educational system. 
The public school system is one of the great 
achievements of our American civilization. It has 
done much in the past to prepare the children for 
citizenship and to make democracy possible. But 
the public school system, it is confessed by all, 
needs to be changed at some points. The first 
thing is this: We must improve the rural schools. 

In some parts of our land the rural schools are 
very inadequately supported and poorly conduct- 
ed. In some sections the term of school is too 
short. In many states a larger proportion of these 


schools have very few pupils. All this means a 
very inadequate educational equipment for life. 
No wonder many parents leave the country and 
crowd into the towns that their children may 
have better educational advantages. The most 
immediate and practical thing is a central school 
for a larger section. This will mean better build- 
ings, more and better teachers and more courses 
of study. Above all it will make possible the vo- 
cational training that is greatly needed in our 
land. This will make it possible for the schools 
to become more efficient, to touch life on all sides, 
to give instruction in technical subjects, and to 
interest the children in better farming. Great 
advances are being made in this direction; but 
much yet remains to be done. 

VI. We must create a new type of country 
life. Several things are fundamental here. First 
of all we must teach a new love for the soil. We 
must make people see that the soil is God's gift to 
His children; and in the last analysis it is the 
means through which He gives them daily bread. 
To misuse the soil, to waste its resources, to im- 
poverish it, is a great sin against God and a great 
wrong against the nation. Then we must inter- 
est the young people in farm life by showing that 
farmfng offers a field for talents. He is a bene- 
factor of the race who makes two blades of grass 
grow where before there was one. He is a much 
greater benefactor who teaches the people to 
raise seventy bushels of corn to the acre where 
before they were raising but thirty. To this end 
the church should enlist its young people in corn 
growing contests. Some Sunday Schools display 
their athletic trophies with just pride. The time 
is coming when our Sunday Schools will display 
their corn growing trophies with religious inter- 
est. The church may well and wisely offer its 
building for a Farmers' Institute, or for a Grange 
meeting. The great principle behind it all is this: 
That religion is a matter of life; and all life 
should be religious. We must link our religion 


and our daily life. The church that is separating 
religion from life is off the track; the church that 
is hallowing life is the church that is advancing 
the Kingdom of God. 

VII. Finally, the church must reach out and 
touch the whole life of the community. The end 
and aim of all our prayer and effort is the King- 
dom of God. The Kingdom of God in the Chris- 
tian conception never means anything less than a 
righteous society on earth. We are here then 
to build a Christian type of community life. Chris- 
tianity will never have its perfect work till it has 
created a divine type of human society. We are 
to win men into Christ and to teach them His 
will, that they may become workers in His King- 
dom and living stones in the walls of the new 
city. W^e must build character, teach the mind, 
arouse the conscience and discipline the will, that 
men may go out and build their character, their 
intelligence, their conscience, their faith into their 
community life. Christian people are to build a 
Christian community. This requires thought, and 
purpose, a plan and program. Every church, we 
believe, should have a constructive program for 
serving the social needs of its community, either 
individually or through the largest possible co- 
operation with other agencies of human uplift. 
The success of a church is measured not alone in 
the additions to its membership, but in the sweet- 
ened life of its community. Is the community 
becoming a more attractive place to live in? Is it 
becoming a safer place for boys and girls to be 
born into? Is it becoming a better place for men 
and women to serve God in? If so, that church 
is fulfilling its mission and is glorifying the Fa- 
ther in heaven. As a man who knows Christ sets 
before himself the purpose of growing up into 
Christ in all things, as a man and woman unite 
their lives in the work of making a Christian 
home, as a company of believers unite their faith 


in the work of spreading the Gospel throughout 
the world; so the people of good will in a com- 
munity are to unite their intelligence, their con- 
science, their religion in the work of building a 
Christian Community. Any effort that will help 
any life in any way is the translation into deed 
of some article of our Christian faith. 


By B. D. GRAY, D.D., Atlanta, Ga, 

There is a universal cry for peace. Above the 
din and carnage of the Balkan struggle the peace 
call sounded throughout the earth, and the sav- 
age cruelty of the Mexican strife makes the 
world sigh, "How long?" 

The money of the millionaire provides a home 
for The Hague Tribunal at whose council board 
the chief topic is international conciliation' with 
the view of universal peace. During this year 
of grace the Nobel prize of $40,000 has been 
awarded an American, Hon. Elihu Root, for his 
contribution to the peace of the world. Arbi- 
tration treaties with peaceful purposes are be- 
ing negotiated by the United States with the 
leading nations of the earth. 

The deepest need of mankind is the "Pax 
Vobiscum" of our Lord. Like Him we would 
place the beatitude of sonship with God upon the 
peace makers of the world. 


Along with this desire for peace is a wide- 
spread conviction for union, the child of peace. 

Many things are set aside not because they 
are untrue but because they are supposed to 
stand in the way of union. The things that 
divide are eschewed. Only those that bring 
union are worth while. Concession instead of 
conviction is the order of the day in many 
quarters. -Creeds are decried and denominational- 
ism is anathematized. Everybody is to concede 
all he can in order to cure the heresy of schism. 

A resultant of all this in the religious world 

97 : '"• 


is the magnifying of non-denominational or in- 
ter-denominational movements. We want some- 
thing that all can come into, where there is no 

If denominationalism will persist in living, let 
it be controlled by the broader more liberal thing, 
un-denominationalism. Forthwith a world pro- 
gram is in order for the marching hosts of Chris- 
tendom, with an attenuated denominationalism. 
That is a trend of the times. 

Now, over against this is a fact of history, name- 
ly, that movements have been successful when 
they have magnified convictions. All the reforms 
and progress of the world have been achieved by 
men of conviction. Granted their fanaticism has 
Oftentimes held sway, it remains true that martyrs 
and heroes have conquered by conscience. Let us 
witness John the Baptist, Paul, Chrysostom, 
Savonorola, Huss, Wycliffe, Luther, Knox, Wes- 
ley, and all worthy of a place in the cloud of wit- 
nesses of the eleventh Chapter of Hebrews. 

Jt may be noted further that a name is given 
to the champions of ideas. Let ideas and con- 
victions take possession of men so that they go 
forth in their championship, presently they are 
called by the name that designates these thoughts. 
The name may be given in derision or in approba- 
tion, but the thought brought the name. Philos- 
ophy, Science, Painting, Sculpture have made 
progress by schools. The progress of Christianity 
has been made through denominationalism, as 
government has been through parties. Luther 
and Wesley had no name for their reforms at first 
but Lutheranism and Wesleyanism soon became 
names full of meaning and slogans to conjure 

. Honest, noble, worthy denominationalism spells 
loyalty, conviction, courage; stands for something 
and calls to something. It conserves instead of 
compromising convictions. It wins victories, 
gains followers, makes conquests. 



The cry for peace and union is not deeper nor 
more strenuous than the well nigh universal call 
of democracy. In Republics the democratic spir- 
it is penetrating all forms of government, com- 
merce and life. Trusts and combinations are 
yielding to the inevitable spirit of brotherhood 
and democracy. Nor is this human spirit con- 
fined to Republics. It thunders at the throne of 
empires and kingdoms. It makes unsettled the 
head that wears the crown. Imperialism has no 
footing in the western world. The thrones of 
Europe, one after another, are crumbling under 
the test of democracy. The Czar of Russia is 
feeling the teachings of Tolstoi. Almost within a 
day the Empire of China, isolated, ignorant, 
proud and oppressive, was converted into a Re- 

In the religious realm democracy is in the as- 
cendant. Ecclesiastical hierarchies are modifying 
their constitutions and the laity as well as the 
clergy are coming into their own. The spiritual 
equality of all believers in Christ is a doctrine 
that grows apace. 

The Day for Baptists. 

So we have three great thoughts pervading the 
human breast, giving utterance with voice and 
pen throughout the earth — Peace, Union, Democ- 
racy. These are Baptist assets. We love peace 
and union and democracy. We have been their 
chief exponents in the past. Sometimes pur- 
chased at a great price, nevertheless peace, union 
and democracy are watchwords with Baptists. 
And now that the world cries out for the blessings 
that will come in the wake of peace, union and 
democracy, the Baptist day has come. The pres- 
ent opportunity must be seized. We want peace 
though it come through war. We want union but 
we want the truth more and for the right of in- 
dividual conscience, which is true democracy, we 


are ready to lay down our lives even as did our 

The largest charity for others consistent with 
loyalty to the whole round of truth as we see it 
shall be extended, but we will not sacrifice prin- 
ciple for the sake of peace, nor be truant to the 
truth for the sake of union. Like our Master we 
small minister to others and not be ministered 
unto, but in order to make our ministry most ef- 
fective we will make our own program of service. 
Just now, as probably never before, there is need 
on the part of Baptists for proper accentuation. 
The primary and secondary accent we will ob- 
serve. On matters fundamental we shall stand 
immovable. On secondary matters we will put 
proportionate stress. 

The ordinances of our Lord we will hold invio- 
late and we will not break the mold of doctrine in 
which they are set and so vitiate the truth they 
symbolize. Our ambition shall be to incarnate 
the truth in our lives that the world may know 
that Christ lives because we live. 

The methods of our propagandism may be 
many but the Master of our lives is one. We 
seek His honor, we await His command. His 
Word is our law and we go forth to conquer in 
His name. 

Our Baptist people are great in numbers, are 
growing in wealth, intelligence and social power 
and in the South we have the unparalleled oppor- 
tunity of all the ages, if we are true to Him who 
has purchased us with His own blood. We shall 
lay ourselves and our all upon His altar and do 
our utmost to bring His reign throughout the 
whole earth. 


By CHAS. ANDERSON, Statesville, N. C. 

A rather high sounding subject for what is in- 
tended to be a very practical and matter of fact 
discussion of methods in the affairs of the King- 
dom. In contrasting many business methods em- 
ployed by the church of today with the methods in 
use by honest and successful business men, one 
cannot but be impressed with the fact, that it still 
remains true, "The children of this world are 
wiser in their generation than the children of 
light." As I understand the parable of the Un- 
just Steward, he was commended, not for his dis- 
honesty, but for so conducting his business af- 
fairs as to win unto himself friends. Is not this 
what every first class business man of today is 
honestly striving to do? He strives to have every 
department of his business so conducted as to 
make friends and so win patronage. 

This is very far from being true of the strictly 
business affairs of the church. There still remain 
traces of the old idea that business must not so 
much as be mentioned in the affairs of the King- 
dom, and that to employ business methods found- 
ed on the soundest principles of business would be 
desecration. The idea, so long prevalent, that a 
minister must not be paid a definite salary but be 
content with whatever amount his people may 
choose to "give" him, lingers in only a few locali- 
ties; but there is still, very widely extended, the 
belief that a preacher who insists on having a de- 
finite and clear cut understanding in regard to the 
amount of salary, time of payment, etc., is mer- 
cenary and is conducting himself in a very unbe- 
coming manner. 

Why not recognize at once that we are really 
engaged in a business? A just conception of this 



fact will not lessen our regard for religion, but, 
properly understood, should stimulate our indus- 
try and make each one of us more attentive to 
the affairs of the church. This is the day of "Big 
Business," and we sometimes look with awe at the 
colossal business concerns of our country and are 
amazed at the gigantic intellects that have con- 
ceived enterprises on so magnificent a scale. Be- 
loved, the great business enterprise of the age is 
not "Standard Oil" or "United States Steel." The 
greatest business enterprise of this or of any oth- 
er age is the business of the Kingdom of God, 
whose purpose is to extend the reign of Jesus 
Christ to the uttermost portions of the earth, to 
bring to pass the conditions foretold when "every 
knee should bow — and every tongue confess that 
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Fa- 
ther." It is the King's business and is above all 
business. Mind of man has never yet been form- 
ed that could plan on such a scale as our Lord has 
planned. While our business men of today, after 
centuries of business development and years of 
smaller things, are gradually spreading out and 
reaching the different nations of the world, so be- 
coming world wide in their business operations, in 
the business of the Kingdom, from its very incep- 
tion, there has been nothing less than this con- 
templated, and its language, from the first, was of 
world wide affairs. True it is, that for a time 
those to whom the affairs were entrusted could not 
comprehend the scope of the enterprise and limit- 
ed their operations and plans, yet this was be- 
cause they had not followed the plain plans and 
instructions of Jesus Christ, whose language was 
always world wide in its terms. Let us realize, 
once for all, that we are here on business for the 
King, and conduct the affairs of the Kingdom in 
such a way as shall be becoming to the dignity of 
the enterprise in which we are engaged, and with 
such sterling business sense and method as to com- 
mand the respect and admiration of the children 
of the world. On the spiritual side, there is, and 


has been, displayed, such a spirit of courageous 
faith, of willing sacrifice, as to challenge the ad- 
miration of men. On the side where we touch 
the world in purely secular ways there has been a 
carelessness and indifference to the simplest 
business principles, that dimmed the glory of 
spiritual achievement. A wise business man un- 
dertakes to make each department of his business 
supplement and assist the other. Is it not time 
we were paying attention to this side of the busi- 
ness of the Kingdom, that it may add to and en- 
hance the glory of our purely spiritual achieve- 
ments? Let us consider a few of the most funda- 
mental principles underlying successful business 
and note if applicable to the church of Jesus 

A business enterprise is to be launched and car- 
ried on, its promoters hope, to a successful con- 
clusion. There is a definite system worked for 
the carrying on of that business. A system 
adapted to the business and the conditions under 
which it is to be operated and yet flexible enough 
to admit of changes as occasions may demand. 
Every local church needs a definite system. In 
some respects these systems will differ in differ- 
ent localities and under different conditions. It 
is not my purpose to offer a definite system, but 
rather to insist that there be a system and that it 
be founded on correct business principles, for, 
however much systems may differ, the principles 
of good business are the same and must underly 
every successful business system. 

The next move is to finance the business; by 
which I mean furnish the necessary capital for the 
carrying on of the enterprise. If the business is 
to be a success it must be adequately financed for 
the accomplishment of the ends it has in view. 
Here many business enterprises fail. Lack of vis- 
ion and dependence upon things that are expected 
to occur, but may not, frequently leave a business 
crippled because inadequately financed. It must 
be adequate to the ends to be accomplished. If 


one aims at only a small business, only a small 
capital is needed. Men usually furnish this capi- 
tal in either cash or securities that are available 
as cash. In some great enterprises, where the 
location of the business in certain localities will 
be a distinct advantage to that locality, certain 
gifts are made by the people of that particular lo- 
cality to secure the business. This has been true 
of factories, railroads, and other great enterprises* 
But even these were not in the real sense gifts, 
but payments for benefits expected to accure. 

In the affairs of the Kingdom there arises the 
Question of financing the movement, for it can no 
more be carried on without the necessary finan- 
cial backing than any other enterprise. (In this 
discussion I refer, for the most part, to the local 
church, as the unit of our organization.) It is 
needful that in the matter of financing the church 
we be mindful of the dignity of the enterprise and 
so conduct this important part of its business as 
to win the confidence and respect of the people 
among whom it is to work. Three methods large- 
ly in use, generally a combination of the three, 
occur to me. 

The first one is what I call the "Hold Up" meth- 
od. Under this method certain politicians, busi- 
ness men and men in various forms of public life 
are selected, and approached with a request for a 
contribution to the church, although these parties 
have no connection with the church. The natural 
implication of such a request is, if you do not 
"come across" I will not vote for you or trade 
with you. A gentleman of Kentucky, now in Con- 
gress, called me into his office when he was mak- 
ing his first race for Congress and showed me a 
letter from a young lady, a member of the organ 
committee of a Baptist church in a remote part 
of his district, asking for a contribution. This 
gentleman did not know her and neither did I. 
He was a Catholic. He wanted me to tell him how 
much to send. I said "nothing." He replied, he 
must send something and so enclosed his check for 


$50.00. A clear case of "hold-up." Your busy 
men and public men around you can tell you that 
these experiences are of frequent occurrence. This 
is not business. Such methods do not make 

The second method is that of begging. We 
hear committees spoken of as begging commit- 
tees; certain persons in the church spoken of as 
good beggars. We speak of "giving" so much 
to church expenses, pastor's salary, etc. The Ro- 
man Catholic idea of Mendicancy has been in- 
stilled into the church and is hard to eradicate. 
The Kingdom is too great a business to be financ- 
ed by begging methods. They give false impres- 
sions of the dignity of the work, low ideals in 
planning the work. Let us cease to talk of giving 
to the church and speak of paying into the treas- 
ury of the church. Let us drop the role of beggar 
and stand out as business men, honestly and in 
a business like way financing the enterprise. We 
do not confine our so-called begging to members 
of the church, but make it real begging by going 
to those without. The first thought that seems 
to come to a church today when they contemplate 
buying a new organ, is, "how much can we get 
from Mr. Carnegie?" I like the spirit recently 
diplayed in one of our churches when this ques- 
tion was raised: One of the deacons arose and 
said, "I move you, that we buy the organ if we 
can pay for it without help from Mr. Carnegie, if 
we cannot, let us wait until we can." They 
bought the organ finding themselves amply able 
to do so. There may come exceptional cases when 
it will be necessary to call for outside help, but 
they are very rare. 

The third method is God's method. "Upon the 
firstl day of the week let every one of you 
lay by him in store, as God hath prospered 
him." This plan will finance the Kingdom 
adequately, in a manner in keeping with the 
dignity of the business, and in such a way as to 
win friends to the cause. I shall not speak at 


length upon this. Much has been written upon 
this subject. Suffice it to say, it involves syste- 
matic giving upon the part of every member of 
the church, in the proportion that God has pros- 
pered him. Work it out. You can raise objec- 
tions to it but the same effort you expend in 
finding fault, expended in the other direction, 
will meet every objection that can be raised. Ltet 
us try God's plan. 

Having considered the matter of financing the 
Kingdom, let us consider the other side of the 
question: The expenditure of the money which 
comes into the Treasury. 

Here should be found a system of the strictest 
economy, administered in a spirit of liberality. 
The two words, economy and liberality, are not 
antonyms. It is possible to be economical and yet 
display a liberal spirit in the expenditure of every 
dollar. I know a man of moderate income who 
has a reputation for liberality, yet in fact is very 
economical. He holds all expenditures within the 
bounds of his income, but pays to church or mer- 
chant with such a cheery air of good will that he 
is always spoken of as a "liberal and cheerful 

I know another man of much larger means 
whose expenditures, for the church and for him- 
self, are many times larger than that of the one 
first mentioned. He meets his obligations so re- 
luctantly and grudgingly that he is universally 
considered a "stingy man." The liberality of the 
first one mentioned, makes him friends; the 
stinginess of the latter causes people to dislike 

There should be the strictest economy con- 
sistent with efficiency. A true business man is 
always ready to spend money for properly in- 
creased efficiency. Here is where we too often 
fail in church matters. We think we can get 
along without this, that, and the other. And we 
can, but at the cost of efficiency. This question 
is most glaringly illustrated in the question of 


church building and equipment. We have got- 
ten along with the old church so far and we can 
continue to do so. No need of Sunday School 
rooms, modern equipment and all of these new 
fangled ideas. This is too often the position taken 
by churches. In building we are apt to begin to 
cut down on the architect's plans, on the plea of 
economy, and generally at the cost of efficiency. 
One of the best investments the church of today 
can make, is in the erection of a comfortable, at- 
tractive, properly arranged and equipped church, 
in a good location. It attracts the outsider to you 
and gives the opportunity of preaching to many 
people that otherwise you would never reach. 

A church in a shabby, poorly located building 
has much the same handicap as a mercantile 
business conducted in a shabby, poorly located 
store building. In many ways we are apt to sac- 
rifice efficiency in the interest of imaginary econ- 

Then again, economy at the expense of the good 
opinion of the public, or of individuals composing 
that public, is false economy. Here is an oppor- 
tunity for liberality in a way that will make you 

A man of national reputation was asked to de- 
liver an address at a religious Assembly. He re- 
plied he would make no charge for his services, 
simply stipulating that his expenses should be 
paid. The very economical agent in charge of the 
Assembly ascertaining the actual number of miles 
traveled, figured out the actual railroad fare to 
the odd cent and mailed him check covering 
same. It happened that the gentleman was 
obliged to take one meal en route each way, and 
we all know there are always some expenses in- 
cident to a journey not covered by the actual rail- 
road fare, yet for none of these expenses was 
provision made. Brethren, this is very poor econ- 
omy. A minister was invited to visit a church 
really wanting his services. His expense account 
was called for. It amounted to $32.75. The 


chairman of the Committee said, "there will like- 
ly be some small items you have overlooked, 
here is $35.00." A small matter hut it made its 

A church should go on the market and buy its 
supplies at the market price and pay for them 
promptly. I have never been commissioned to 
buy for a church that some one did not suggest 
that I tell the merchant it was for the church and 
ask that it be sold at cost. Why should not the 
church as a self respecting, solvent business con- 
cern pay for what it gets? I believe that church 
and minister should pay, as does the general pub- 
lic, for what they buy. Away with the minister 
who wends his way from store to store asking for 
a discount of ten per cent because of his calling. 
Let him be a man among men and honestly pay 
his way. The church should be particular in the 
matter of meeting all obligations promptly. The 
minister's salary should be promptly paid at the 
times agreed upon, for this should be a matter 
upon which there is a definite agreement before 
the pastorate is begun. A clear understanding 
in money matters often saves hard feelings. A 
prominent minister, in his first pastorate, was 
sued for a small debt. It developed that at that 
time the church owed him an amount many times 
in excess of the small amount for which he was 
sued. I have never served a church that burned 
coal that did not buy its coal from some mem- 
ber of the church and let the bill run, some- 
times even until the next fall. In one instance 
the book-keeper of the firm was a young man who 
was inclined to disregard the claims of religion. 
He became so out of patience with the church's 
way of ignoring statements sent that he would 
curse every time an order came for coal. But 
some one will say, "how pay these bills promptly 
when there is no money in the treasury?" If 
God's plan of financing the Kingdom is followed 
there will generally be money in the treasury; but 
we shall not let this important matter await the 


attainment of our ideal in financing the church. 
Even with the ideal plan in force it will some- 
times happen that unusual expenses will occur 
at certain times when insufficient funds are on 
hand. This occurs in the best of well regulated 
businesses. What does the business man do? He 
goes to the bank and borrows the necessary 
money, paying interest thereon, and meets his ob- 
ligations. Why should not the church do the 
same? I have also sometimes noted another ad- 
vantage in such a procedure on the part of a 
church. I have sometimes thought it stimulated 
the deacons to more earnest effort in the matter 
of making collections. This promptly meeting 
obligations maintains your credit. In business 
this is all important. Some one has said that all 
business is conducted on credit. This is so nearly 
true that the firm with a poor credit has a very 
difficult task in so conducting its business as to 
meet keen competition. The Mercantile Agencies 
and Credit men rate business firms as "Prompt 
Pay," "Slow Pay," "Poor Pay" and there is still 
another class known as "Discounters," men who 
pay cash and take a discount on their bills for so 
doing. How would the church be rated by one of 
these agencies, the church of which you are a 
member? It should be rated as "Prompt Pay." But 
some one will say "this is all very well for the 
town or city church but the country church cannot 
do this because the farmer's money does not come 
in regularly." It is just as good and as necessary 
for the country church as for any other. The coun- 
try churches are paying less for maintenance of 
the work in their own communities, as well as 
for its spread abroad, than any other churches; 
and yet, take them as a whole, the farmers are 
the most prosperous people we have today. Their 
credit at the bank is just as good as that of the 
merchant or professional man. All that is need- 
ful is for them to be awakened to the needs of the 
case and they will and can meet it. A Kentucky 
country church that had always been slow in pay- 


ment of pastor's salary and had seen a procession 
of discouraged and disheartened pastors leave 
them, was in Conference for call of a new pastor. 
One deacon suggested, that as this was the sea- 
son of the year when they all had money, every 
one pay in cash, his full subscription for the year. 
This was done and the money deposited in a bank 
so each month the treasurer could hand to the 
pastor a check for his salary. It can be done in 
country, village or city where the people have a 
mind to do it. 

Many other thoughts occur to me but time 
forbids that I should take them up. I have 
undertaken to call to mind some of the sim- 
plest and most fundamental principles of good 
business and show that they are perfectly applica- 
ble to church affairs. I have taken only th- af- 
fairs of the local church in its local relations. Its 
connection with the great co-operative work of 
Missions, Education and Benevolences form a sub- 
ject for a more extended discussion. We see be- 
fore us the great waste in large interest pay- 
ments annually that would be entirely, or for the 
most part unnecessary, would we but adopt busi- 
ness methods. The same principles in relation to 
these affairs will work out the solution. After 
all the church that puts business principles into 
its purely local affairs will do the same in co- 
operative work. In speaking of the work of the 
Kingdom as a business I have meant in all rever- 
ence simply to assert that it is necessary to be- 
stow upon the work of the Kingdom of God at 
least as much good, consecrated, common sense as 
we display in earthly business and that we give 
to it a position of dignity and prominence, at 
least equal to that of our own business concerns. 
Get the idea that your God is no beggar and can- 
not be pleased with the lowering of His Church 
to the plane of a mendicant seeking alms, where 
it has a right to "collect His dues from the stew- 
ards He has placed in charge of His vineyard."